Aki Inomata’s Crystalline 3D Printed Hermit Crab Shells

by CaroPosted on

As hermit crabs grow, they require larger shells. Since suitable intact shells are sometimes a limited resource, vigorous competition often occurs among hermit crabs for shells. Japanese artist Aki Inomata, sympathizing with those forced out of their homes by larger crabs, sought to help them find a new home with her series titled “Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs?” Using 3D printing technology, she studied the natural shapes of hermit crab shells and printed out new “shelters” that the hermit crabs would move into (if they chose to). Their crystalline-like shells are shaped like tiny magical castles, houses, and other structures modeled after cities from all over the world. Inomata sees a connection between the crab’s plight to migrants and refugees changing their nationalities and the places where they live. In her artist statement, she writes, “”This work was inspired by the fact that the land of the former French Embassy in Japan had been French until October 2009, and then became Japanese for the following fifty years, after which it will be returned to France. I was surprised to hear this story, and associated this image with the way that hermit crabs exchange shelters.”






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