Evolutionary science and human vulnerability are at the centre of a new initiative to reduce road deaths and injuries. The Transport Accident Commission recently launched its latest road safety project, highlighting how susceptible the human body is to the forces involved in transport accidents. In a shift from its traditional road safety campaigns, the TAC has collaborated with a leading trauma surgeon, a crash investigation expert and a world-renowned Melbourne artist to produce “Graham,” an interactive lifelike sculpture demonstrating human vulnerability. Needless to say, it does not make for comfortable viewing, but that's the point. If you've ever seen an Aphex Twin music video, you might be prepared for it, otherwise, brace yourself! Graham has been designed to represent what would potentially have happened to us if we had evolved to withstand the forces involved in crashes. Studies have shown that the human body can only cope with impacts at speeds people can reach on their own, unassisted by vehicles.
Joe Calafiore, CEO at TAC, said: “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. 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. 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. Graham is an educational tool that will serve the community for years to come as a reminder of why we need to develop a safer road system that will protect us when things go wrong.”
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. The installation will be on show at the State Library of Victoria, Australia until August 8, before going on a roadshow. Victorians can also interact with Graham online at the bespoke Meet Graham website created by Clemenger BBDO and Airbag productions. In an Australian first, Victorians will be able to use Google Tango, the latest in immersive augmented reality technology, to look beneath Graham’s skin and better understand how his unique features would work to cushion him from serious injury in a crash. Specific School curriculum has also been developed to enhance the learning experience for students visiting Graham in person or online. It's a challenging and, most importantly, genuinely disturbing campaign that shook us to our core.