Aki Inomata - Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs? (2009)
"In this piece I gave hermit crabs shelters that I had made for them, and if they liked my shelters, they will take them as their shell.
"I connected my study of the hermit’s transformation to the self-adaptation of humans, whether it be in acquiring a new nationality, immigrating, or relocating. In this project I wanted to explore whether we really can choose the place or country where we live.
I used CT scanning to capture highly-detailed, three-dimentional rendering of an unoccupied seashell, which one of my hermit crabs had abandoned. Based on the tomography of the interior of the shell, I prototyped with rapid prototyping and produced several types of habitable shelters, Tokyo house-style and Paris apartments. I gave those shelters to my hermit crabs.”
The hermit crabs wearing the shelters I built for them, which imitate the architecture of various countries, appeared to be crossing various national borders. Though the body of the hermit crab is the same, according to the shell it is wearing, its appearance changes completely. It’s as if they were asking, “Who are you?””