Multi-media artist Tanya Vlach of San Francisco wants to replace her eye, lost in a nearly fatal car accident, with a web-cam able to take video and still photos which will be used to create an “augmented reality” of her sci-fi alter ego depicted in a graphic novel and other media. She has set up a Kickstarter page to raise $15,000 for the creation of the new eye. So far she’s nearly 50% of the way there with 16 days to go. A $25 donation includes production sketches for the graphic novel.
Below is her Kickstarter video. Viewer discretion: There’s a shot of her putting in her prosthetic eye, so watch with caution.
I love that she chose the graphic novel as one of her crucial pieces of this project. It’s certainly a compelling concept, as the New York Daily News, Engadget, Gizmodo, Huffington Post, and one of AOL’s Buzzmedia blog network have already picked up the story.
This brings up a ton of interesting questions about privacy (her own and anyone she looks at), the boundaries of reality and art, and others I’m sure that haven’t occurred to me yet. It sure is a fascinating idea. It reminds me of Warren Ellis’ Doktor Sleepless, a sci-fi comic set in the future where people wear Clatter contact lenses that allow access to instant messaging and social media with the ability to upload pictures taken by the user based on what they see. And of course there’s the obvious Six Million Dollar Man connection as Bill Hemmer makes in that Fox spot seen in the opening of the video above. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a news anchor so giddy over getting to spotlight an old TV show for a news story. Someone please get Bill Hemmer the new Bionic Man comic book coming this August.)
Based on engineer proposals she’s received, she believes she’ll be able to get the high-tech eye engineered for $15,000, but that doesn’t include the cost to get it safely working and installed. As seen in her updates, there’s still a lot of things to figure out, like how to keep the camera’s battery charged and whether to use silicone or acrilic for the casing.