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Arts preview: unleash your inner Sherlock

Kevin Kwong

 

CSI: The Experience
Sheraton Macao Hotel

 

Ever wanted to play detective? Now you can. A new show at the Sheraton Macao promises to bring the Sherlock Holmes out in all of us.

Inspired by the US hit TV drama series CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (which premiered in 2000 and is currently nearing the end of its 13th season), "CSI: The Experience" is an interactive whodunnit exhibition that puts logical thinking to the test by way of three murder mysteries.

In one case a car is crashed into a living room in suburban America, but the blood spatter doesn't quite tally with where the driver was found. In another the only piece of evidence is a human skeleton half buried in the desert. But how are visitors to deduce who the murderers are and their motives from such limited evidence?

The devil is in the detail, says Sebastian Schubert, the production manager. Investigators will have to look closely at the evidence - a skid mark, a shoe print or a ring - and put it into context. A guide is on hand to prompt those who are really stuck, he adds.

But collecting on-scene evidence is only the beginning of an elaborate investigation that also includes examining finger prints, blood spatter analysis, toxicology reports, forensic evidence and an autopsy report. At the end visitors present their findings at a computer terminal where Gilbert "Gil" Grissom (played by William Petersen), the head investigator in the show for the first nine seasons, says whether they solved the cases.

"You will see elements from the show, but even if you're not a CSI fan, you'll still enjoy solving the cases," Schubert says.

Developed by the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History in Texas, the exhibition was first staged at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry in 2007 and is described as a learning adventure that explores the tools and technology behind crime scene investigation. It won the Texan museum the Themed Entertainment Association's Thea Award for outstanding achievement in 2008.

Through hands-on activities featuring real equipment and multimedia presentations, visitors will sample the various fields of crime scene investigation - such as DNA analysis, forensic anthropology and firearm and tool mark identification. All the text in the interactive exhibition is in both English and Chinese, while the audio and video recordings are in Putonghua with English subtitles. Once visitors enter the exhibition, they may investigate as long as they wish, although the average time in each crime scene is about 10 minutes. Most visitors take about an hour to experience the whole show.

The organiser said "CSI: The Experience" targets not only people interested in the television show but also those who want to learn more about investigative forensic science. Those who solve the mysteries will be given a certificate to prove their critical thinking skills are up to scratch.

Schubert says the question he gets asked most about the exhibition is when will it feature new crime scenes. "We're working on it," he says.

kevin.kwong@scmp.com

 

Caspian Ballroom, Sheraton Macao Hotel, Cotai Central. Until June 15. 11am-8pm daily. Tickets: HK$288 (for all three crime scenarios). Inquiries: CotaiTicketing.com

 

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