Wafaa Bilal may not have eyes in the back of his head, but he will soon have the next best thing to it: a digital camera. The Iraqi-American performance artist and New York University assistant professor plans to implant a thumb-sized camera in the back of his noggin and stream live images from it to a museum in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar.
The camera will be attached to Bilal's head in a procedure similar to piercing, and it will be beaming photos at one minute intervals to the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, which is scheduled to open next month, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Bilal's artwork, titled, appropriately, "The 3rd I," is intended to be "a comment on the inaccessibility of time, and the inability to capture memory and experience," the Journal reported.
Needless to say, Bilal's work-in-progress caused a stir on the NYU campus. Not the least of the university's concerns was violation of the privacy of the professor's students and colleagues. To address that issue, Bilal has agreed to cover the camera with a black lens cap while he's on campus.
Controversy is nothing new to Bilal. In 2007, in a project he titled "Domestic Tension," he locked himself in a gallery in Chicago with a remote-controlled paintball gun that could be fired at him by visitors to a Website. In his 2008 "Virtual Jihadi" project, he hacked into a video game to insert his avatar as a suicide bomber hunting George W. Bush. And in June, he tattooed a map containing the names of Iraqi cities on his back in his "...and Counting" piece. As American and Iraqi casualties mounted in the burgs, he added dots to them to mark the locations of the wounded and dead.