He’s unsightly, he’s misshapen and he weighs 440 pounds. He’s Graham – and he’s making people think about the importance of safe driving.
The Transport Accident Commission of Victoria, Australia, created Graham in 2016, calling him “a lifelike, interactive sculpture demonstrating human vulnerability.” Royal Melbourne Hospital trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield, Monash University Accident Research Center crash investigator David Logan and Melbourne sculptor Patricia Piccinini designed him.
Made from silicone fiberglass, concrete, human hair and steel, Graham’s grotesque bodily features show what humans might look like if we had evolved to withstand low-impact car crashes.
“People can survive running at full pace into a wall, but when you’re talking about collisions involving vehicles, the speeds are faster, the forces are greater and the chances of survival are much slimmer,” Transport Accident Commission CEO Joe Calafiore said. “Cars have evolved a lot faster than humans, and Graham helps us understand why we need to improve every aspect of our roads system to protect ourselves from our own mistakes.”
Since his creation, Graham has been getting attention – just as the Transport Accident Commission intended.
Graham is one of 60 nominees for the prestigious 2017 Beazley Designs of the Year awards, recently announced by the Design Museum in London.
Samantha Cockfield, lead direct of road safety for the Transport Accident Commission, told the publication Dezeen that Graham has been an Internet sensation from the get-go.
“The reaction to Graham has been overwhelmingly positive both in Victoria, nationally and internationally,” Cockfield told Dezeen. “There were 31 million video views, 80,000 shares online, 1.9 million website views within the first few hours of launch, and Graham was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit.”
The point of Graham’s creation, according to the commission, is that humans aren’t invincible – even though some of us think we are.
“The human body doesn’t have the physiology to absorb the energy when things go wrong in a crash,” the commission says. “In fact, the impact forces of just [18.6 mph] are enough to be fatal – such as striking a pedestrian or a side-on collision with a tree.”