NYU Professor Wafaa Bilal finally has the solution for all of those spit balls that come flying whenever he turns his back in class: he is having a camera implanted in the back of his head. That’s right, a camera. It is part of a project commissioned by a new museum in Qatar which will broadcast the live images to museum visitors.
This is a global project. Bilal is an Iraqi assistant professor in the photography and imaging department who is working in the United States at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts but will be doing the project for a Qatar museum — the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art. He will have surgery to implant the camera for the project called “The 3rd I.”
There is a legal issue, however, that has arisen (Thank God). Does he need the consent of students in class who will be captured by his head camera? As a result of objections, Bilal has agreed to cover the camera with a black lens cap while on university property.
Bilal is known for controversial prior projects. In 2008, he inserted an avatar of himself as a suicide-bomber hunting George Bush in a video game he called the “Virtual Jihadi” and in 2007 he enclosed himself in an exhibit that invited people to shoot him with paintballs in a work called “Domestic Tension.”
My question is the willingness of a doctor to perform such a surgery under the Hippocratic Oath. I would think that many doctors would have qualms about installing cameras in a person’s head — no matter how small the camera or how artistic the cameraman. Any you thought you had problems with red eye in taking pictures . . .