Aki Inomata - Cosmopolitan Shells

Borders and national identity seem to be irrelevant in Nature, on the contrary, they do matter in society.  Based on the tomography of the interior of the shell, Aki Inomata has been studying hermit crabs’ complex selection process and created intricately crafted plastic real estates for relocating arthropods.

The project compares Nature adaption with human accommodation. Acquiring a new nationality, or just moving abroad are important steps of our lives. Alternatively, when an hermit crab grows its instinct leads him to leave its previous shell and look for a larger one according to other priorities related to different survival issues.

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” Comment Aki Inomata.


The hermit crabs wearing the shelters I built for them 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?” Some of them is apparently from Manhattan, others from Santorini, Paris and Bangkok.


Photo: Courtesy of Aki Inomata – aki-inomata.com