Pain Leads Art Professor to Remove "Third Eye" Camera From Head

Artist had a camera installed on the back of his head for a performance project

By Sara Dover
|  Monday, Feb 14, 2011  |  Updated 5:45 PM EDT
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A New York City professor's controversial art project is becoming quite a headache - literally.

Wafaa Bilal, an assistant arts professor at New York University, needed to remove the camera he had installed into the back of his head earlier this month because his body rejected the foreign object.

One of the three titanium posts holding his "third eye" was removed by surgery this Friday, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, forcing him to find other means to continue with his photography project for a museum in Qatar.

"I'm determined to continue with it," Bilal told the Chronicle about "3rdi," which is described on his website as "a statement on surveillance, the mundane and the things we leave behind."

The camera, which was implanted between his skin and his skull in an L.A. tattoo shop, is rigged to shoot spontaneous photos every minute. The photos  live-stream to a website and are being screened at the Muthaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art.

But Bilal's cranial gadget proved too cumbersome and painful. Steroids and antibiotics were unable to help.

The Iraqi-born artist is considering installing a lighter camera and alternate setups, but for now he is simply carrying the camera tied to the back of his neck, he told the Chronicle.

"3rdi" isn't the first politically inspired performance piece by the professor. Bilal, whose brother was killed by a missile at an Iraqi checkpoint, has tattooed his back with a map of Iraq and dots representing U.S. casualties, according to his website. 

 

Selected Reading: Chronicle of Higher Education, MSNBC, Wafaa Bilal's Website

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