NYU professor removes camera from back of his head
Wafaa Bilal's surgical implants were rejected by his body, but his project lives on.
Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 10:23 AM
Photos courtesy Wafaa Bilal
New York University assistant professor and performance artist Wafaa Bilal made headlines a few months ago when he had a tiny camera surgically inserted into the back of his head. Now his body has rejected one of the implants attaching the camera to his skull, The New York Times reports, and Bilal has had it removed.
The implants were part of a project Bilal dubbed "The 3rd I." For the last several months, the camera has taken photos once a minute of everything behind the professor. The images were transmitted to a monitor in the Mathaf Arab Museum of Art in Qatar, and also posted online to the 3rd I website.
The project raised eyebrows among privacy advocates, and NYU directed Bilal to cover up the camera while he was on campus.
But according to the Times, quoting the Chronicle of Higher Education, Bilal's body never quite took to the titanium posts implanted under his skin. "Mr. Bilal's body rejected one of the posts, despite treatment with antibiotics and steroids, and he was in constant pain," the Times reported.
All three cameras and the titanium plate and posts have now been removed. Bilal hasn't ended the project, though: he now has a camera tied to the back of his neck. It's a less elegant solution, but one that allows his performance art to continue.
Bilal originally intended to wear the camera for a full year. He has yet to announce how the long-term project will be affected by the camera's removal.
You can watch a CNN video of Bilal's project here: