Thursday, February 10, 2011

The 3rd I yi yi

Sometimes, having 20/20/20 vision isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Ask that Iraqi-born professor at New York University -- the one with a camera in the back of his head. Actually, make that the art professor and performance artist who used to have a camera implanted in the back of his head as part of a little something he's calling "The 3rd I."

Like I said, sometimes 20/20/20 vision isn't all that.

HERE'S THE LATEST on the trials of being a performance artist, as reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education the other day:
An NYU professor triggered a debate about campus privacy in November when he decided to implant a camera in the back of his head for a year-long art project.

Now the professor, Wafaa Bilal, faces a much bigger obstacle than students who might not want their pictures taken. His body is rejecting part of the implanted device.

The Iraqi-born artist underwent surgery on Friday to remove a section of the camera apparatus, which is rigged to snap a picture every 60 seconds and publish the image on a Web site set up for the project. The pictures are also displayed on monitors in a physical exhibit at a museum in Doha, Qatar.

“I’m determined to continue with it,” Mr. Bilal, an assistant arts professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, said on Monday.

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.

THE COMPLICATIONS involved in attaching a camera to one's head have been well known for at least five decades, though miniaturization and advanced technology have made the procedure more and more feasible.

Above, we see a photo of an early attempt at what Bilal is attempting. Unfortunately, this late-1950s subject did not survive the surgery to remove this RCA TK-41 color camera.

Kinescopes at 11.

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