MEET THE TAC’S NEW, SUPER-HUMAN HYPOTHETICAL CRASH SURVIVOR

The Victorian Transport Accident Commission (TAC) has come up with a startling new way to remind people of the dangers they face when on the road.

The TAC has commissioned Melbourne-based artist Patricia Piccinini to create a unique sculpture titled Graham. Designed with advice from leading trauma surgeon Christian Kenfield and crash investigator expert David Logan, Graham embodies the dimensions and super-human characteristics a person would need in order to survive a motor accident. He’s a sharp reminder of just how inadequate and fragile our ordinary bodies are, in the face of high speeds. In fact, even surprisingly low speeds can cause death – pedestrians have been killed by vehicles travelling at just 30 kilometres an hour.

Bearing a super thick skull, the invincible Graham also has no neck. Inside his chest are air bags which would, hypothetically, protect his vital organs from injury.

One danger that Graham would be protected against is whip lash. This occurs when the head is flung forward suddenly, then over-extended as it returns to its usual position. In the average human, whip lash can cause severe neck injuries, cervical spine fractures and dislocation of ligaments. Given that Graham doesn’t have a neck, he wouldn’t have to worry about this potentially debilitating condition.

Piccinini built Graham out of silicone, fibreglass, resin and human hair. But, she says his real appeal lies in the emotional vulnerability of his eyes.

“The eyes are where the work is, it’s where the viewer can really connect with him and empathise,” she told the ABC.

The TAC hopes that, in empathising with Graham, the viewer will think harder next time he/she gets behind the wheel. In 2015, 1,209 people died on Australian roads. And yet, many people continue to engage in dangerous driving behaviours, such as speeding, ignoring road safety rules and pushing themselves beyond the limits set by fatigue. The sculpture is just one element in the TAC’s ‘Towards Zero’ campaign, which hopes to see a world where roads are injury-free. Imagine that – never hearing of an accident or fatality.

To see Patricia Piccinini’s Graham for yourself, drop by the State Library of Victoria (328 Swanston Street, Melbourne), before 8th August or or at http://www.meetgraham.com.au

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