Week 6: Having a closer look at Materialising The Digital

This will be a brief blog post having a closer look at one of the works at the Materialising the Digital exhibition from last week’s trip to the Powerhourse Museum, Sydney. We teamed up into pairs and chose one work that we liked and answered a set of questions. The work we chose was from Aki Inomata’s series, Why Not Hand Over a ‘Shelter’ to Hermit Crabs? (2014-15).

How was the work made?
CT scans of hermit crab shells, 3D “casting” made with design on top, then 3D printed.

What materials were used?
Clear 3D printing resin

What kinds of processes were used?
She used a CT scanner to capture highly detailed and 3 dimensional renderings of unoccupied seashells that her own hermit crabs had abandoned. She then prototyped several habitable shelters based on the interior of the shell. Initially her work was based on Tokyo house-style and apartments in Paris, and then city architecture, and then mimicry of certain structures.

Was there much experimentation involved? What purpose did this experimentation serve?
Initially the shells were prototyped based on a basic shell concept, however all shells ended up being rejected by her hermit crabs. This presented a hurdle of understanding that Aki Inomata was forced to overcome in order to create something that the hermit crabs would use.

What decisions were made?
As an ongoing project, Inomata is still creating more of these shells for her hermit crabs. Now that she has the basics of the hermit crab structure understood, she is able to use these as blank canvases for her statements in regards to how the architecture of Japan echoes designs and draws inspiration from other cultures. Her decisions mostly revolve around what statement to make next.

Other Questions to consider are:

  • Why were these decisions made?
  • Why these materials?
  • Why these processes?
  • How did these ‘serve’ the ideas explored?
  • And what are these ideas explored?

This is something I’ve decided I will answer in greater detail in my analysis of the exhibition, due in week 9. I will most likely choose this same work to focus on!

For reference, the questions I will need to be answering are found here.

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