3D Printed Hermit Crab Cities

It's not a city "of" hermit crabs, it's a city that a hermit crab can carry around. Japanese artist Aki Inomata developed a 3D printed replacement shell for hermit crabs that includes a tiny model city on its back. Thus, when the crab wanders, it takes the city with it. 
 
Inomata says:
 
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?”
 
  
Fascinating, beautiful and profound certainly, but we hope the crabs were not disturbed by this process. Their natural shells evolved over millennia and likely include physical and chemical properties not duplicated by artificially created shells. 
 
We have seen several ingenious ways to involve animals with 3D printing technology in recent months. If you're producing 3D printed stuff for creatures, please ensure you're helping them. 
 

General Fabb

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has been writing Fabbaloo posts since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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