Net Art Implant

Details about my next micro-curatorial project launching this fall

The project is a subcutaneous NFC chip implanted for use as a wireless storage device. The re-writable 1K chip contains an animated GIF file that can be accessed by compatible smartphones, tablets, card readers and Arduino devices. 

NFC is a short-range wireless technology; the implant can be read from a distance of about 1 to 2 cm. The chip is a passive device and does not require a battery, it is powered by the magnetic field generated by the reader.

As a form of micro-curation, the artwork will be rotated out to exhibit new artists and artworks on a regular basis. Future artworks may come in various file formats such as GIFs, JPGs, MIDI music, or ASCII art. An Android app in development allows for direct download of the GIF from the chip, displays extended information about the artwork, and contains an archive of previously exhibited works.

The first animated GIF on the chip is the website favicon of, a cyan-magenta-yellow animated gradient.

Animal New York documented the installation of the chip including the video below, and posted a follow-up article a week later that can be found here.

How the artwork is accessed

The chip storage is split into sectors traditionally used for secure data. The data on the chip is left public for reading and password protected for writing. The app in development allows for direct downloading of the file from the chip and the ability to upload a new file.

Without the app the data is still accessible via a chip reader or smartphone, but the information has to be manually saved through a less user-friendly process. To compensate for this, a small portion of one sector contains an NDEF message, which is a format a smartphone can read without using the app. This message contains a launch command to bring up a URL where the contents of the chip have been mirrored.

The first GIF stored on the chip (scaled): 




Healing progress: Day 1 (left) → healed (right)

Day 1 to healed


Implant site held over flashlight



Pre-implant NFC chip



Video Stills: Courtesy Animal New York

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Press Coverage




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Animal New York


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implant demo