A New York University professor has decided to surgically install a thumbnail-sized camera into the back of his head for a project titled “The 3rd I.”
Wafaa Bilal, an Iraqi assistant professor of photography at NYU, is creating this project with the help of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, located in Qatar. Once the project begins, the camera on the back of Bilal’s head will snap one still shot per minute for an entire year. The camera will then feed these images to the museum, where visitors can watch his personal activity on several monitors.
However, the project seems to be creating some controversy over the issue of privacy. Students are crying foul about having a camera watching their every move. After some debate among the NYU administrators and faculty, Bilal has agreed to place a black lens cap over the camera while on university property.
It seems odd, though, that these students are putting up such a fuss. After all, he is a photography professor, and these are photography students. If anything, you would think they might be completely supportive of such a project. And what can this tiny camera, snapping one image per minute, actually capture that might incriminate these students? And what the heck are they doing in class that they don’t want anyone else to see anyways?
Maybe it’s just me, but I think this privacy issue is getting a little out of control. While NYU classrooms may technically be considered private property, I think a university campus can also be seen as public space. Personally, I don’t do anything in public that I don’t want any members of the public to actually see. Makes sense to me.