map office: crab island
apr 08, 2010
map office: crab island


‘crab island’
240 x 184 x 184 cm

hong kong-based architecture firm map office ‘crab island’ was developed for their solo show
‘moving sideways’ at tang contemporary art, hong kong. exploring notions of displacement,
territory, economy, social movement and / or play, the project exposes a community of crabs
being contained within a standardized housing system – harmony tower, mimicking a social housing unit
in hong kong. made specifically for the gallery, the central cruciform tower supports a total of
24 identical aquariums – four towers stacked at six storeys high – and is inhabited by 100 sea crabs.
a decreasing density from top to bottom inverse the traditional logic of luxury. a mixed image
of the viewers and the crabs are both reflected from within the glass wall and a reflective corner joints.
the crabs move in reaction to the presence of random motion caused by the orientation / disorientation
of the public maneuvering against the chrome steel balls that fill up a large part of the gallery floor.
the space of the aquarium is projected outwards onto the gallery walls with multiple fluid shadows
of the crabs in movement. more than just a playful game of calculated steps and patience,
‘crab island’ alludes to various conditional tensions and paradoxes that we face in our daily progress
along the lines of fixed, existing environment and cultural relations.



up close


installation view


up close

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