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Artist Constructs Fantastically Creative New Homes for Hermit Crabs

Aki Inomata

© Aki Inomata

Aki Inomata

© Aki Inomata

The once humble shells are a thing of the past for these hermit crabs, who have been upgraded to some fantastically creative new digs constructed by Tokyo-based artist Aki Inomata for her series Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs? Using a CT scanner, Inomata made a detailed 3D model of a snail shell, adding iconic architectural features and cityscapes—the Manhattan skyline, the picturesque windmills of Zaanse Schans in the Netherlands, beautiful Santorini—and printed out the crystal-like abodes in transparent plastic using a 3D printer. She then left them for these tiny little creatures to let themselves in if they so desired—and that they did.

The hermit crab and its transitory nature when it comes to shelter was just the right expression for Inomata’s inspiration for the work—the modern day negotiation of the land of the former French Embassy in Japan, where control changes hands every 50 years; “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 artist says. To see a hermit crab house-swap in action, check out the video below.

Aki Inomata © Aki Inomata

Aki Inomata © Aki Inomata

Aki Inomata © Aki Inomata

Aki Inomata © Aki Inomata

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