Meet Graham. He’s not the prettiest of blokes. He’s got a fat, warped head which has melted into his torso, taking out his neck.
His freaky-looking chest is a super-reinforced battering ram, but it gives him a fleshy suit of armour that would fit right in on a Game of Thrones character.
His feet are elongated, misshapen messes, and he’s the poster boy for cankles.
Hardly the image of the perfect bloke — but to Victorian Transport Accident Commission (TAC) he’s perfect, because he’s the nightmarish-looking example of why no normal human would survive a road accident.
A road safety supermodel, if you like.
Graham is the TAC’s latest graphic weapon in its campaign to cut the road toll.
The TAC created him — with the help of a leading trauma surgeon, a crash investigation expert and a Melbourne artist — to show exactly why the normal human body isn’t built for car accidents. Their ‘Meet Graham’ campaign encourages people to meet the interactive lifelike sculpture as a reminder of the human vulnerability.
The TAC is famous for its confronting road safety campaigns, but Graham is a startling — and hard-to-ignore departure from traditional horror crash campaigns.
TAC chief executive officer Joe Calafiore said the sculpture was meant to remind people of their vulnerability on the road.
“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,” Mr 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.”
Royal Melbourne Hospital trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield and Monash University Accident Research Centre crash investigator David Logan briefed Melbourne sculptor Patricia Piccinini to develop Graham.
Graham is currently on display at the State Library of Victoria — where he’ll stay until August 8 before going on a roadshow — but if you want a meeting at a distance, despite his prehistoric appearance — he’s pretty savvy with the world of the internet.
You can interact with him online — thanks to an experience via an app called Google Tango which allows you to literally get right under his skin and better understand how his custom-built body and features would work to protect him from serious injury in a car crash.
The artist who built Graham — Patricia Picciniuci — was briefed by Monash University Accident Research Centre crash investigator David Logan and Royal Melbourne Hospital trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield, about what bodily features a human would need to avoid serious injury in a car crash.
“We have to accept people will always make mistakes, but modern vehicle safety technology and safe road design can drastically reduce the forces involved when a crash happens, making them more survivable,” said Calafiore.
Incidentally, there’s no grand secret behind Graham’s name. He was dubbed ‘Graham’ a year ago, before developers even knew what he’d look like in the early stages of the project.
By the time he had been brought to ‘life’, the moniker seemed to suit him, and the working title became his name because ‘he’s just a normal bloke’, a TAC spokesperson said.