Artist forced to remove head camera implant

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 still be able to re-attached 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 re-attach the camera on the remaining two posts or on a reworked base."

In the meantime, the artist said he will 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 the new Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar.

Wafaa, 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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