A nutty professor at NYU is undergoing surgery to get a camera installed in the back of his head, to be held in place by "a piercing-like attachment" for one year. Professor Wafaa Bilal is going cyborg for an exhibit in a new museum opening up in Qatar. The Wall Street Journal reports that the thumb-size camera will take a photo every minute, then transmit the photos to monitors at the museum. But what about when he's teaching class and the NYU students have their privacy violated? Well, the university administration wants him to wear a lens cap on NYU property. (Which basically means that most of downtown Manhattan is off limits, hey-o!)
"Obviously you don't want students to be under the burden of constant surveillance; it's not a good teaching environment," Fred Ritchin, associate chairman of the photography and imaging department, tells the Journal. But in a show of great restraint, NYU stopped short of telling Bilal how he could use his head camera inside his own home. "I guess anybody accepting a dinner invitation will have to realize that certain things will be going on," Ritchin shrugged.
The project, titled "The 3rd I," is intended as "a comment on the inaccessibility of time, and the inability to capture memory and experience." By the way, this isn't the first time Bilal's made waves; a 2008 project, "Virtual Jihadi," involved hacking a video game to insert an avatar of himself as a suicide-bomber hunting President George W. Bush. The exhibition was shut down in the face of heated protests, and eventually the NYCLU filed a lawsuit in Bilal's defense. Coolest professor, ever?