Aki Inomata is a Japanese artist that creates works in collaboration with living creatures. In this case, she is creating 3D printed shells for crabs with a city design.
Aki Inomata graduated with an MFA in Inter-media Art from Tokyo University of the Arts in 2008. She was born in Tokyo in 1983. Her major artworks include Why Not Hand Over a “Shelter” to Hermit Crabs?, in which she created city-like shells for hermit crabs, and I Wear the Dog’s Hair, and the Dog Wears My Hair, in which the artist and her dog wear capes made out of each other’s respective hair.
She received the Grand Prize at the YouFab Global Creative Awards 2014, the Special Prize at Asian Art Award 2018. In 2017, she stayed in New York on an Individual Fellowship Grant from the Asian Cultural Council.
The crab’s shells made with a 3D printer brings to mind migrants, refugees, and their ability to swap nationalities.
In 2009, Inomata studied the natural shape of hermit crab shells using a CT scanner and used this data with a 3D printer to reproduce the crustacean domiciles, but with an additional flourish. On the surface of the shell, Inomata has placed architectural structures from around the globe. The latest installment of her series, subtitled “White Chapel,” incorporates wedding chapels on the surface of the shells. For this work, Inomata remarks that in Japan approximately 60% of weddings are conducted in these chapels, yet only 1% of the population in Japan is Christian.
The artist states: “Animals have always contributed to my creative process. They’ve always been with my works. It’s hard to pin down a percentage of how much they’ve helped because it varies by the works I’ve created.”