Implanted Camera is Rejected By Man's Head
Posted by David Ozanich — 10 Feb 2011
Remember NYU professor Wafaa Bilal? He who had a camera implanted in the back of his head as part of a year-long art project for a museum in Qatar? Well, things aren't going along as swimmingly as he might hope because his skull is rejecting the implant. This perhaps explains why he previously told the Wall Street Journal that the camera was "uncomfortable for sure." He recently had surgery to remove part of the apparatus. Reports the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Under its initial configuration, the camera was mounted on three posts. Each led to a titanium base that was implanted between Mr. Bilal's skin and skull. The procedure was done by a body-modification artist at a tattoo shop in Los Angeles. But the setup caused constant pain, because his body rejected one of the posts, despite treatment with antibiotics and steroids. So Mr. Bilal had that post surgically removed, leaving the other two intact.
Once the wound heals, Mr. Bilal hopes to figure out a different setup and remount a lighter camera. For now, though, he's carrying on the project by tying the camera to the back of his neck.
Professor Bilal is determined to keep going forward with the project despite the setback. And for those wondering what the meaning of all this high-concept art is, Bilal lays it out for us:
[Bilal] sees the project's mundane, daily images as a way of slowing life down and calling attention to the present. "Most of the time, we don't live in the places we live in," he said. "We don't exist in the city we exist in. Perhaps physically we exist, but mentally we are somewhere else." Yet another explanation: The project points to the future--a future where, as Mr. Bilal sees it, communication devices will become part of our bodies.
But why not simply wear the camera, rather than implant it?
"It's a performance," Mr. Bilal said. "With the performance comes endurance. But also it's a commitment. And I didn't feel that strapping something around my neck would be the same way I'm committed to the project as mounting it to the top of my head."
By the way, if you're interested - and how could you not be? - you can see all the photos he's taken so far (one every minute, save when the lens cap is on during classes) here.