grotesque ‘graham’ is the only person designed to survive a car crash




this bizarre and bafflingly deformed figure is the physical embodiment of an inconceivable idea: he is the only ‘person’ designed to survive today’s high-impact road traumas. in an effort to highlight the susceptibly of the human body to the forces of a car crash, australia’s transport accident commission has collaborated with a leading trauma surgeon, a crash investigation expert and artist patricia piccinini to realize ‘graham’. this interactive, lifelike sculpture demonstrates our vulnerability to collisions, and aims to reduce deaths and injuries on the road. 



meet graham, TAC 2016
video courtesy of TACVictoria




piccinini has sculpted ‘graham‘ with the bodily features that might be present in humans if they had evolved to withstand the forces involved in 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.’

‘graham’s’ skull has been engineered to absorb impact earlier, much like a helmet




the installation is on show at the state library of victoria until august 8, 2016. visitors can use google tango — an immersive augmented reality technology — to look beneath the figure’s skin to better understand how his features would work to cushion him from serious injury. additionally, school curriculum has been developed to enhance the learning experience for students visiting the figure in person or online.

‘graham’ has a bigger skull with more cerebrospinal fluid and ligaments to brace the brain upon collision

the figure’s torso is more airbag-like than armour-like, where sacks have been placed between each of the ribs

removing the neck has sacrificed his mobility to make his head more resilient to injury in a crash

‘graham’ has strong, hoof-like legs with added joints allow him to jump out of the way quickly

the sculpture illustrates the human body if it had evolved to withstand the forces of crashes



patricia piccinini creates the only person designed to survive on our roads
video courtesy of TACVictoria

piccinini sculpts the facial features of ‘graham’

the interactive lifelike sculpture demonstrates human vulnerability

the figure’s hands are cast and sculpted