This man is a catalyst for conversations about the physical aspect of human evolution. Graham is the only person who is adept and designed to survive on our roads. He is ultimately an educational tool conceived to show us what we might look like if our bodies had evolved to withstand car accidents.
No, he is not a real living human being… just a ridiculously realistic interactive life-like sculpture. Graham is a reminder to all of us just how vulnerable our bodies really are. You would have to look like him to survive even just a low impact crash – meaning when speed and impact forces as low as 30km/h. The fact is, the human body doesn’t have the physiology to absorb the energy when things go wrong in a crash. Graham’s unusual enhanced physique does.
“Graham highlights the changes we need to make to protect ourselves from our own mistakes on the road. At the centre of this system is the belief that human health is more important than anything else, he is the embodiment of the Towards Zero vision.” TAC
This informative art piece was commissioned by The Transport Accident Commission in Victoria, Australia to demonstrate human vulnerability in traffic accidents. It was a collaboration between Melbourne artist Patricia Piccinini, leading trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield, and crash investigation expert Dr David Logan.
“For me, this is a challenge to make it work, that it’s not just a museum piece. It can be the vehicle for a very important idea.” – Piccinini
The sculpture itself is made from a combination of silicone fibreglass, concrete, human hair and steel. It is weighing in at approximately 200 kilograms. His enlarged skull is filled with extra cerebrospinal fluid and ligaments to protect the brain. His face is protected from impact by fat.
He has no neck because that is one of the most vulnerable body parts in a collision. Instead, the ribcage continues up all the way to the skull. Between each of his ribs there are sacks filled with liquid to create airbag-like cushioning. Last but not least, extra joints in his legs allow him to jump out-of-the-way quickly.
As part of the campaign, the TAC developed and launched an online interactive educational tool on their website. It allows users to look under Graham’s skin and understand the workings of his body. And for those who get to meet Graham in person, there is an interactive x-ray device that allowed people to see inside his body.
“The reaction to Graham has been overwhelmingly positive both in Victoria, nationally and internationally.” -Samantha Cockfield, TAC lead director of road safety
Graham, the grotesque star of a road-safety campaign, has been loved by everyone that gets to meet him. He was even nominated for Design Of The Year Award by Dezeen! But even so, I think we all can agree that it’s a good thing cars have evolved faster than humans…or else maybe we’d all look as strange as Graham.