Entertainment & Arts

Artist forced to remove head camera implant

Iraq artist Wafaa Bilal with the new camera mounted to the back of his head. Photo by Brad Farwell
The camera takes a picture every minute as part of a year-long project

An artist who had a camera implanted into the back of his head has been forced to remove it after his body rejected part of the device.

Iraqi-born Wafaa Bilal had surgery last week to remove one of three posts holding the camera in place as it posed a risk of infection.

The camera had been taking a photo every minute as part of a year-long project.

Bilal says he hopes he will be able to reattach the camera.

After doctors refused his initial request to have the camera inserted into his head last year, the artist had the procedure done at a body-piercing studio in Los Angeles.

The camera was mounted on three posts attached to a titanium base inserted between Bilal's skin and skull.

The set-up had been causing him pain despite treatment with antibiotics and steroids.

"Such a reaction is common with piercings and implants," Bilal, a photography professor from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, said on his website.

"I'm hopeful the wound will heal quickly and I will be able to reattach the camera on the remaining two posts or on a reworked base."

In the meantime, the artist said he would continue to wear the camera on a strap around his neck to continue the flow of images.

The pictures are fed to the project's website and also streamed in real-time to monitors at an exhibition of contemporary art at the new Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar.

Bilal, who fled Iraq in 1991, says the project is intended as a comment on today's surveillance society, where people in cities spend much of their lives under the watchful eyes of security cameras.

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