Man installs camera at the back his head


DOHA – “It still hurts,” says Wafaa Bilal, and that is perhaps not surprising.
The Iraqi artist has a camera attached to three titanium plates, bolted into the back of his skull.
The camera is taking one photo every minute for the next year, and is feeding the images in real-time to a new show of contemporary art in Doha, Qatar. It also tracks his every move via GPS.
All this in the name of art. But the pain is getting to him just a little.
“I still have to treat it regularly with hot towels and salt water,” he told BBC World Service.
Everyday life has got a bit more complicated too like taking a shower, for example.
Wafaa hopes to upgrade his camera to a water-proof one soon, but in the meantime, he needs to wear a shower-cap – transparent, of course.
Or, going through airport security, which on his first flight proved a lengthy process, involving various scans and tests.
And what view does his girlfriend take of his unusual artistic experiment?
“So far, she is very supportive and has not imposed any lens cap curfew for any moment of our lives,” he told the BBC.
Wafaa Bilal is a photography professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and that is one place where he has agreed to put the lens cap on, to protect the privacy of his students.
When asked why he is doing it, he gives several reasons, but one is connected with having fled Iraq in 1991 – and having nothing to remind him of his former life.
“My city Najaf was under bombardment and the smoke was rising from it, I wished at that moment that I could record what was left behind,” he says.
He spent two years in a refugee camp, before moving to the United States, where he was granted political asylum.
Most of his family stayed behind, and in 2004 his brother Haji was killed by a missile at a checkpoint. His father – heart-broken and devastated – refused to eat or drink, and died soon after.
Art is a mirror, says Wafaa and this project ensures that he will at least have a full and permanent record of his life in 2011. (BBC)


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