We humans are always pushing limits ― skydiving, downhill skiing, car racing.
The stark reality, however, is that our bodies are not built to survive accidents involving many of the technologies we’ve come to love and rely on, namely automobiles.
Then there’s Graham ― a bulging, unsightly and very crash-proof specimen.
Developed as part of a new road safety campaign in Australia, the lifelike sculpture highlights our own vulnerabilities, “designed with bodily features that might be present in humans if they had evolved to withstand the forces involved in [car] crashes,” according to the Transport Accident Commission in the state of Victoria.
Graham was produced by Melbourne-based artist Patricia Piccinini, with help from road safety engineer Dr. David Logan and trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield. His superhuman features include a massive skull to protect the brain; a flat, fatty face capable of absorbing the energy of an impact; no neck, eliminating the possibility of it being broken; stronger, thicker skin: ribs fortified with their own air bags; knees capable of bending in all directions; and an extra leg joint that allows him to jump out of the way of a moving vehicle.
In short, Graham would have no trouble walking away from a high-speed, head-on collision.
In an announcement about TAC’s new safety campaign, chief executive Joe Calafiore said cars have evolved much quicker than human beings.
“Graham helps us understand why we need to improve every aspect of our roads system to protect ourselves from our own mistakes,” he said.
In 2013 alone, 1.25 million people died globally in road traffic accidents, according to the World Health Organization.
Graham will be on display at the State Library of Victoria until August 8 and TAC has set up a website where people can interact with the superhuman.
“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,” Calafiore said.