Did you ever have hermit crabs for pets as a kid? It would be so fun picking out new shells and hoping they’d upgrade to the one you Bedazzled or painted. Japanese artist Aki Inomata is also fascinated with hermit crab shell promotion, but her offerings are not the typical heart and star painted ones- she creates famous translucent cityscapes atop the shells that she also sculpts. She titled the project, “Why not hand over a shelter to hermit crabs?” To ensure inhabitation of her creations, Inomata imaged the insides of typical hermit shells with a CT scanner and modeled the base of her sculptures after the results. With Inomata’s mobile homes the hermit crabs can choose which city to inhabit- and they don’t even have to worry about rent or cost of living!
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Inomata explains the inspiration behind this body of work:
I overheard that the land of the former French Embassy in Japan had been French until October 2009; that it was to become Japanese for the following fifty years, and then be returned to France. This concept made me think of hermit crabs, which change their shells.
The same piece of land is peacefully transferred from one country to the other. These kinds of things take place without our being aware of it. On the other hand, similar events are not unrelated to us as individuals. For example acquiring nationality, moving, and migration.
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?”