Hermes the Dancing Hermit Crab
By Danielle Terhune, Matthew Roy Reeves and Hermit Crab(s)

Started on: 04/20/10 11:09:13
Medium: Dance

Matt Reeves and I are working with his hermit crab, Hermes. When the animal communicator Barbara Janell visited our Animal Collaboration class she mentioned that Hermes loves to dance. She said his whole life is a dance, and therefore Matt and I are working with Hermes to see if he will let us capture his dancing in action. The project is to play a variety of music and try to figure out what Hermes prefers. We have already traced his dance steps using a sugar based food coloring on drawing paper, labeling each sheet with the song and artist that was played at the time of the dance. We are also going to video tape his dancing as well. The goal of the project is to create the ultimate music playlist for Hermes in accordance to what he shares with us as his preference.

"Rock Lobster" by B52's

Caribbean Reggae.

"Telephone" by Lady Gaga

Michael Buble

Latin Creole Guitar

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Comment by jordenh (05/15/10 11:23:05):
It's interesting to see which music makes hermes goes in a more circular motion, I feel like the music I wouldn't expect ended up making him move in that way. Great drawings/paintings.

Comment by mreeves (04/20/10 16:24:45):
Below are the documented photographs

Project Updates
05/09/10 23:21:52 - Reclusive State

Unfortunately the Hermes project has been put on hold. Hermes has become reclusive and buried himself in the sand of his little tank. Research tells us that he is having problems with temperature or he just needs a bigger shell. So a few nights ago Matt Reeves and I set of to find Hermes a new shell, hoping for an improvement. We selected a few shells, and let them boil to sanitized them, and as of yet Hermes has not selected a new one. We may have to purchase some new shells for the hermit crab to try out. I believe our future plans are to create a nice mix of music to encourage Hermes in a speedy selection and a move from his depressive state into a more possitive one. Of course our first concern is Hermes health, so the project has been placed on hold until he appears active and well.

Hopefully Hermes will take to his new shell...

Cooling and drying the shells after a boiling hot bath.

Sanitizing the shells for Hermes.

Hermes in his 'hidey hole.'

I found a nice selection for Hermes.

Success in finding some whole shells!

Matt on the hunt for a new shell for hermes.

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06/12/10 08:43:44 - Art 130 SHOW!

Danielle Terhune and myself, Matthew Reeves, spoke to animal psychic Barbara Janelle, who had some insights on Hermes, my very own hermit crab.
“Hermes like music, but is too much inside himself. He likes to dance. In everything Hermes does, its a dance. Especially in the way he walks and listens. I think its more of an eight step.”
Our project is the HERMES DANCE MIX, an exploration into interspecies living spaces and lifestyles. Hermes is surrounded by human life from inside the Destijl Mobile, his modern domestic material terrarium. Danielle and I pay special attention to his musical preferences by sharing our human understanding of the art form. The outcome is interspecies collaboration.
The featured drawings are recorded movements of Hermes Dancing to various music genres, along with relevant sketches documenting Our collaboration with my hermit crab.
* * * * *
Matt and myself, Danielle, went about discovering Hermes’ ultimate dance mix by observing his reaction to different songs. The more active Hermes became during a song the more we interpreted it as a song he liked. After many observations we discovered that Hermes preferred a mix of Latin Creole guitar, Reggae, and Alternative. He especially like “Rock Lobster” by the B52’s.
* * * * *
Take up the head phones and experience our interspecies collaboration. Dance with Hermes the hermit crab. Get our of your shell!

* * * * *

Hermes lives inside a tupperware container, and so do I. When I change his water each morning, the Santa Barbara city services will water me. Together, we are collaborating to explore controlled environments, and how the controlled freedom can be most enjoyed.
Destijl was a Dutch art movement in the early 20th century stressing intensely artificial aesthetics. Strong primary colors were displayed in paint, wood, and plastics. The Destijl Mobile is a domesticated transportation of this modern art phase, paying tribute to the progress of Centuries past. Modern art now provides flashy plastic containers of stark plastic colors.
Hermes and I comfortably live in our respective controlled, artificial environments, ever aware of our animalistic bond to nature. We may be postmodern pets to the philosophers of today, but Hermes and I know that together we are interspecies collaborators.
How do you live inside your tupperware container?

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