Home > Body Worn Cameras, Privacy, Sousveillance > Artist Implanted Camera in Back of his Head

Artist Implanted Camera in Back of his Head

Wafaa Bilal implanted a camera in the back of his head

In an interesting or crazy performance (depending on your point-of-view I guess), Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal implanted a camera in
the back of his head, which took a snapshot once every 60 seconds for a year (December 2010 – December 2011). This photo was automatically posted to the performance website 3rdi.me and to the Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar to be viewed by anyone interested. Additionally, his current GPS coordinates were shown as well. He explained the reasoning behind the performance as “a comment on the inaccessibility of time, and the inability to capture memory and experience,” and further that he always wished to have a record of places left behind (he lived in several arab refugee camps after fleeing Iraq during the first Gulf war).

This performance triggered a privacy discussion on university campus, which forced him to cover the camera while being there. However, I’m surprised that this was not a bigger issue, outside the campus. What about people on the street? They just become part of the performance, without consent or even knowledge about it. However, this is a very good example of how a Transparent Society might look like in the future, where we achieve equality by complete and ultimate transparency. Recently, retinal implants successfully let patients see again in the UK. Wouldn’t cameras implanted into the eye be an interesting idea for the not-so-distant future?

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