I’m Aki Inomata, And This Is How I Create

Aki Inomata was born in 1983 in Tokyo. She completed graduate studies in inter media art at Tokyo University of the Arts. Her art is created collaboratively with living creatures. Her major series “Why Not Hand Over a ‘Shelter’ to Hermit Crabs?” see miniature cities made by 3D printer transformed into the shell of a hermit crab. Her work attempts to rediscover humanity by superimposing a human world over the behavior of (non-human) living creatures.

Major solo shows have been held at ICC in 2015 and Hagiso in 2014. Recent group exhibitions include “Ars Electoronica Festival 2014” and “4th Digital Shock: Real Factory” at Institut français du Japon – Tokyo.


How everything started?

Everything started when I was a college student and got know of a play writer and an actor named Kara Juro (1940-). I had been living not knowing the reality of life, but I found it out through watching his plays, and got feeling of the reality of “I’m here now.” One of prominent characteristics of Kara’s play is a Japanese style art expression called “shakkei”. Shakkei means “borrowing the scene,” and is the way that applies or “borrows” the nature surroundings as a part of art works. And mixes up and fuss the surroundings to making it into the work. Kara’s play is performed in a tent, and in the final phase of his play, the tent is suddenly opened up and “shakkei” is happening. First time I saw it, I was literally stunned.

The fusion of the artificial work and the nature surroundings strongly impacted me, and it led me to get realizing “I’m here now.” I didn’t intend to be a play writer or an actor, however, I felt that I could be a contemporary artist and face the reality and express it in my own way and show it as my art works.

I think it seems that many characters in Kara’s plays live only in the past, and talk about their memoirs. We communicate people who are not here through the internet. It is very convenient, but sometimes I feel anxious that who is the person playing “me” and where is myself on the internet.

Thinking about various aspects such as borders, fashion, foreign language through creating my works with living things is a taught straggle for me to get the reality of life.

What’s your studio set-up like?


Who has influenced you the most in your life?

Juro Kara

Your favorite quote?

“What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It is really tough question, I have been asking this question to myself for a long time and I haven’t found my answer yet actually.

In Japan, we have a word “iki-toshi-ikeru-mono,” that means “all the living-things living in this world.” No hierarchy and all the living-things, such as butterflies, grasshoppers, sardines, chats, whales, etc., are equally precious and should be respected in this meaning. This might sound really “Eastern,” but I believe this feeling is universal and very important for all of us to live
together on the earth.

What’s your best life hack?

I make it a point to get up early.

What item can’t you live without and why?

Not an item, but a good person to talk with.


What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

FAB (digital fabrication). I can create various things with digital devices. I often try to communicate with living things through digital techniques.

What do you listen to while you create?

Just an ambient, when I’m focusing on creative work, any sounds around me diminish.

What are you currently reading?

The Human Nature of Birds

A scientific Discovery with Startling Implications

Theodore Xenophon Barber, Ph.D.


What are your favorite books and movies of all time? And why?

The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

How do you recharge?

Ancient Japanese fighters of 16C believe in the power of 茶道 Sado ( traditional Japanese tea ceremony ).

I’m following them drinking Macha and eating Japanese sweets to revitalize myself.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Too many to select one

How do you believe we can change our consumption-based society, to an expressive creative-based society?

Digital Fabrication is changing the society now.

Connection computers and Fab machines make any one a creator, rearranging existing items, downloading item’s date all over the world via internet.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to our readers?

I am using a lot of technological instruments, for example, CT scanners, 3D printers, infrared sensors, andmore. And that is very natural for me because I was born and have grown in this era with many technological equipment.

On the other hand, I have a very strong interest in skills of all animals and other living things. Anthills, birds’ nests, beaver dams, et cetera. I absolutely want to call them “animals’ technology”.

I think it will lead to make us watch the world with new angles that I compare or join each technologies of people and animal.

You can follow Aki at http://www.aki-inomata.com/


Photos: © Aki Inomata