New York University professor to implant camera in his head

For the next year, Wafaa Bilal plans to document the world from a different perspective - specifically, from the back of his head.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Iraqi assistant professor in the photography and imaging department of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts plans to have a thumbnail-sized camera surgically implanted in the back of his head as part of a project commissioned by Qatar's Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art.

As part of the project dubbed ''The 3rd I'', the camera will take still pictures at one-minute intervals, then feed the photos live to monitors at the museum. Mr Bilal declined to comment on his art project, but NYU colleagues told the Journal the camera will be secured via ''a piercing-like attachment''. According to museum press materials, ''The 3rd I'' is meant as intended as ''a comment on the inaccessibility of time, and the inability to capture memory and experience.''

Mr Bilal's bold project has raised privacy concerns at NYU, with fears that the assistant professor's interactions with students will be recorded without the consent of those involved. The university is reportedly is still working out what rules will apply to Mr Bilal and his camera while on campus.

University spokesman John Beckman told the Journal that Mr Bilal had agreed to cover the camera with a black lens cap while on campus and had also raised the idea of switching the camera off entirely while on NYU property.

Mr Bilal is no stranger to controversy. In 2007 he confined himself to a gallery in Chicago for a month, for a project dubbed "Domestic Tension". The public were invited to visit a website where they could ''shoot'' Mr Bilal by remotely firing a paintball gun at him. In 2008 he created ''Virtual Jihadi'', a hack of the 2003 low-budget video game Quest for Saddam. Mr Bilal inserted himself into his creation, taking the role of an Iraqi citizen who joins Al Qaeda to avenge his dead brother by killing then-US President George Bush. ''Virtual Jihadi'' incited a wave of public protest and Mr Bilal's attempts to exhibit his work were blocked by the city of Troy, New York.

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