Finally I truly work for a CSI lab-like institute, just like in the series, all of them. The name Cultural Heritage Agency is already very fitting. At the Cultural Science Investigation lab (or Onderzoekstraat) we have never a fresh dead body on the pathology table, but we do fight crime; or so it feels.
If we just tried a bit harder to get our image straight just like the Forensic Institute colleagues, it might get a bit easier for us, not worrying about cuts, leaving colleagues and housing problems. The forensic guys have the money they need available, maybe because their job is airing on prime time.
So how do we pitch for a new image (or An Image) and stay close to our reality? How do we sell our lab to the large audience andthe Hague?
We tell them those stories that are worth telling. Like the in the book ‘Duel’ written by Joost Zwagerman. Although however the plot was more fiction, the characters were are subtracted from reality and this is why he can tell more details in the book.
But there are dozens of stories to tell. When I hear during lunch; that a colleague conservator/art historian helped in an undercover mission to retrieve a stolen masterpiece by authenticating the painting in front of the thieves while having the ransom money in a briefcase, just before the police raid, then I think; Gosh! that is a real good pilot for our prime time pitch, just right there.
So what else, let’s see: The Cold case, where a the master-forgerers work is discovered after 60 years of being in a London’s museum, by indentifying a bakelite in the varnish with new techniques and conclude that he did not only cheated the Nazis but also many honest European museums, earning millions having caviar and champagne, during and after the war.
Or discovering how a 17th century Dutch two-masted ship sunken off the coast of Finland in a protected area (whale sanctuary) has a load of 16 ton of carcinogenic material that could leak into the sea and kill an entire ecosystem.
Another story where foreign researchers fail to identify the truth about the 10 Aztecs’ mosaic skulls, and finally discovering that the used glue do not fit the pre-Columbian age, although the Bones did, and try to prevent the sale of the last skull in a New York auction house where it was going to fetch $ 30,000. And help caught the White-collar criminals.
I know there are many more exiting stories to tell, I am sure we could fill up easily 7 seasons of primetime, arrogant or modest, who knows! But no telling any story to the large audiences is out of the question.
Watch ‘De Wereld leert door’ @ uitzending gemist