EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CRIMS EXHIBITION
Now you can live the CRIMS universe in your skin. A unique experience attended by thousands of citizens every day.
CRIMS is an unprecedented social phenomenon in Catalonia, the best True Crime content to date. After the radio show, came the podcast, the TV show and the books, each one adding to an audience that numbers in the millions, comes the definitive experience of the CRIMS brand: the EXHIBITION.
Premiered this October at Palau Robert, and scheduled until next April, it offers an immersive and interactive experience accompanied, in addition, by a mobile game.
Only a few days open to the public, it has been confirmed as one more success for the Brand, which can no longer only be seen and heard, now you can feel it, touch it and be part of it. CRIMS, the work of the author, director, producer and host Carles Porta, has created a brand with a narrative rhythm, respect for the victims, rigour and even a unique visual identity that the exhibition follows faithfully.
Palau Robert (Generalitat de Catalunya) has given birth to a unique project. Beth Adat and Jofrem Jombart had the good sense to support this initiative. Conceived by the curator of the exhibition Carlos Ortet and developed by the creative studio Zoopa (it is the third museographic project of the studio after Dones and World of Princess,). The CCMA (Corporació Catalana de Mitjans Audiovisuals, which includes TV3 and CATRADIO), together with True Crime Factory and the production company GOROKA, as creators and producers of CRIMS, have lent the documentary collection and have participated in the project.
In the exhibition, while rediscovering the best CRIMS cases, we delve into the MIND OF THE KILLER, empathise with the HEART of the victims or look through the sharp eye of the INVESTIGATOR. These are the three main areas of the exhibition and the three scenographies the visitor can enter to discover this intense world full of content and sensations that are difficult to describe.
Crims l’Exposició is completely free of charge and can be found on the first floor of the Palau Robert until 10 April 2023. It is an experience designed both for the community of CRIMS fans and for those interested in True Crime, curious about the phenomenon that has conquered millions of citizens or simply visitors eager for a fun and interesting experience.
This new format allows access to unpublished information from the series’ documentary background and offers a new perspective on interesting topics related to the cases. And crime in our country.
In short, it brings within reach all those elements that we imagined through the radio or that could not be shown on television, offering a complete and memorable experience.
The exhibition offers three large rooms that draw the triangle already intuited in the television programme: the criminal’s point of view, the victims’ environment and the investigation team.
Each immersive room is connected by other smaller rooms that offer highly stimulating experiences: a radio studio (in homage to the beginning of the series), a line-up wheel (allegorical to the killer-victims connection) where you can integrate yourself into the video through a sophisticated Artificial Intelligence system, an interrogation room where you can choose whether to be the interrogated or the interrogator and feel ‘the weight of silence’ on your skin and a final room dedicated to the editorial work and to give context to the crimes in Catalonia as well as to the audience data and repercussion of CRIMS.
The tour begins with Carles Porta himself, who, from the CATRADIO studio, welcomes us as if he were in front of us and warns us:
Everything you will see in this exhibition has happened. The facts, the names and the places are real.
The curtain that gives us access to the first great immersive scenography warns us: Crimes portray us. Murderers reflect society. We are not responsible, obviously, but we are all part of this ‘collective failure’. The large room is the interior of a flat anchored in time, a dense atmosphere and a peculiar decoration make your instinct alert. On the right a door, if you dare to look through the peephole, you’ll be in for a surprise (CRIMS fans will recognise the scene). The room represents a killer’s view of the world around him.
WHY DO WE KILL? The room has 7 windows showing different images in an unedited montage of footage from the different seasons. The windows project light that reveals messages as disturbing as they are intelligent around this vision of the killer’s mind. Omitting some elements, such as a freezer that we can’t open… the room offers the possibility of sitting on sofas that whisper real statements of cases from the series. Meanwhile, an unpublished collection of iconic objects from the series awaits visitors to recognise them.
Anyone can become a killer. An interactive system scans the visitor and integrates his or her image into an identification wheel. The message is that any of us, in a given circumstance and situation, would be capable of killing.
The experience of seeing yourself in a lineup is very powerful. You can choose whether to enter the men’s or women’s lineup.
This room has a significant technical difficulty and has been made possible thanks to artificial intelligence technology. This makes it possible to identify the profile of the visitor’s image (we have loaded thousands of sample profiles into the local system) and then integrate it into a 3D scenario with the other characters, the characteristic background with horizontal lines and a window framing the action. A curious fact: all the actors are members of the Zoopa agency team that developed the exhibition.
THE VICTIMS, Carles Porta made it clear that this room was where we had to be more sensitive. Unlike the previous room, we suddenly find ourselves in a beautiful immersive environment. It is night, and we are surrounded by forest, in front of a lake. You seem to be able to touch the water, and the mist moves in front of us. The ground is gravel, and the plants around us make it clear that we are far from the city.
Messages about victims appear in the sky, and we hear the voices of family, neighbours, friends, and people who talk to us about how a crime not only affects the deceased but also generates a brutal impact and a feeling of loneliness in different areas. In this room, we empathise with the victims and become aware of the impact of a crime. The respect and sensitivity that CRIMS has practised in all media is reflected in this experience which, while visually pleasing, does not fail to impact everyone.
The stamp of Daniel Ebosogo, the Art Director of the exhibition, is especially noticeable in this room where everything is harmonious and manages to transport you to a magical place. Many visitors ask if they can touch the water: there is no water, it is an illusion.
THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE
The cover-up, not being able to say what you know, is an enormous weight. Relatives, criminals, witnesses, measuring your words, feeling watched, knowing that every word can change lives. This pressure has been masterfully portrayed in this CRIMS room. A classic interrogation room that takes us back to the films we have all seen (this is one of the few artistic licenses in the exhibition, as police forces no longer use this type of configuration and call them ‘interview rooms’). Carol Quesada, who has documented and is a recognised expert on True Crime, has managed to balance the different themes of the exhibition very well.
Sit down, and put on your handcuffs, you have to experience it!
The rooms are closed with dense, heavy curtains, similar to those used in industrial refrigerators, slaughterhouses and such environments, and to walk through them while reading the sentences that define the idea force of each room is, in itself, an experience.
THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS. This strong sentence leads us to the third immersive room, which is undoubtedly the highlight of this experience. In the original design of the exhibition, the entrance was made up of two gigantic books that left a very narrow passage between them. These were the Penal Code and the law of criminal prosecution. One of the main ideas of this space is that the investigator, whether police or journalistic, must follow the steps of the investigation scrupulously. He cannot assume anything, he cannot skip any step, and he cannot cross the fine line between these two codes.
THE EYE OF THE INVESTIGATOR A huge room overwhelms the visitor’s senses. Suddenly you find yourself in front of a REAL autopsy room. It takes your breath away. Some daring people even lie down on the autopsy table, most don’t even dare to touch it! The instruments, the scales, and even the suture thread transport you to an environment you had never dreamed of visiting.
But the real star of the room is a tribute to and a source of information from CRIMS: a macro wall dedicated to investigative journalism. Seeing this wall, which brings together information on 21 CRIMS cases, you realise what an incredible job Carles Porta and his team are doing. This wall has been a titanic work, as it shows REAL documentation on each case and puts it in order, many are documents, photos, and evidence that had never been shown before. Juanjo Sánchez has worked for hand in hand with Ona Tura and Anna Punsí in the selection and the storyline of each centimetre of this wall.
The concept, created by Carlos Ortet, curator of the exhibition, was to create a ‘mental map’ that would allow the very expert to delve deeper and the neophytes to have a global vision of what CRIMS entails. Carles Porta believes linking ideas with threads is ‘very American’ but has tolerated the licence, as it illustrates the connection between evidence and even the geography associated with the different cases. A central map of Catalonia serves as the axis of the gigantic wall. Often, the threads come out of the limits of the cork and stain the walls and even the ceiling, creating a tangle of unquestionable aesthetic value.
The culmination of this creation, halfway between an art installation and a ‘mental map’, is a collection of objects that, like an art gallery, are suspended on the other side of the room. Colour-coded threads link the cases on the CRIMS wall with these iconic and conclusive objects.
The room holds more surprises, such as an installation dedicated to police wiretapping. In this case, many telephones (those devices used before mobile phones appeared) are suspended in a forest of wires, inviting the visitor to search and listen. Many, but not all, reproduce real wiretaps from the CRIMS cases. If the wall is hypnotic, the telephones are addictive as hell…
The backbone of this research laboratory/office is a table more than six metres long by one metre wide. The exhibition’s creator did not want to miss the opportunity to combine a didactic but rigorous explanation of all forensic techniques. Starting with lophoscopy (fingerprint recognition). We will be asked to learn how fingerprint identification, lifting and comparison are carried out, and we will even be able to see and touch the reagents, brushes and all the real forensic instruments.
This experience is fun and also educational, the investigation, communication, and scientific teams of the Mossos de Escuadra have done an impressive job and, as creators of the exhibition, we must admit that we did not expect a level of professionalism and dedication to service like the one they have shown us. Each section has illustrative videos and texts that clearly and concisely explain the different techniques.
The next section of the table is dedicated to blood samples. From their detection, either by visual techniques or chemical reagents, IR cameras or forensic light, to their analysis. Products such as luminol are shown, and blood samples are displayed both on clothes and on objects. It is very interesting. The videos show content created exclusively for the exhibition in the police laboratories.
The table continues with DNA analysis. All the stages from recovery, kits to identify the type of residue (usually blood, saliva or fluids), quantification, amplification once the DNA has been isolated and IDENTIFICATION by looking for certain markers. These allow samples to be linked or searched against a database to identify the sample’s origin. Surprisingly, the room displays a real and functional DNA Sequencer. It is a privilege to access this equipment (on loan from the SCIEX laboratory). For research purposes, not all DNA is sequenced, but just enough to be able to make comparisons. The chances of two unrelated individuals sharing the same number of repeats in the ten regions used in DNA analysis are one in a billion. In the table, we can see a real DNA electrode.
Can you tell which weapon fired the shot? The fourth area of the researcher’s table is dedicated to ballistics. We will find real cartridge cases, bullets and even a gun to help us understand how samples are collected and how to identify the different marks and erosions characteristic of each weapon that infringes on the ammunition it uses. Through a microscope, we can observe the details of an authentic bullet, although the video accompanying this section is possibly the clearest way to understand this technique.
All the explanatory texts are in Catalan, with translations in Spanish and English.
The DNA sequencer and the Mass Spectrometer at the other end of the table are expensive instruments and difficult for anyone to see. Videos with 3D animations have been installed to show how they work and what they are used for – it’s exciting!
The last section holds a nice surprise: we have been observed by hidden cameras while visiting the exhibition. The curator explains that the images are only kept for a few minutes to be shown to the observed subject. The purpose of this section is to show how, from CCTV images, the police can identify a subject and find his or her mugshot, and there is also a sketch showing that anyone can look like a ‘bad guy’ in such a sketch! We find all kinds of clothing and tools used by scientists. You can see and touch most of the tools, storage systems, products and even the clothing the scientist uses – a feast for the curious!
A few facts that illustrate the scientist’s work in Catalonia in 2021
– Ocular inspections. 21370
– Objects studied by lophoscopic research. 10514
– Lofograms identified. 4233
– Lofoscopic identifications of perpetrators. 1931
– DNA analyses carried out. 4840
– Judicial drug tests carried out. 9085
– Studies on counterfeiting of trademarks and patents carried out. 1903
– Documentary forgery studies carried out. 10887
– Studies on graphistics carried out. 3252
– Facial identification studies carried out. 947
– Persons identified by facial identification. 229
– Firearms surveys carried out. 146
– Non-firearms studies carried out. 95
– Weapons surveys LO 4/2015. 2777
– Mobile phone terminals studied. 1089
The last room closes the parenthesis opened by the radio: it is dedicated to the CRIMS books.
The structure of this experience shows you the dimension of Carles Porta’s work and the workmanship that Goroka, led by producer Guille Cascante, have achieved in the series.
The black room shows the book that will be launched in a few weeks dedicated to the PortBou crime as well as crime rates in Catalonia that lead you to the conclusion that we are in a safe but not perfect country.
It also shows very curious data about the audiences of all the media in which the series takes place.
CRIMS has been one of the most outstanding successes of Catalunya Ràdio and TV3 in recent years.
The programme began airing on Catalunya Ràdio in 2019. During its five seasons on the air, it has accumulated 204,000 listeners who follow it live and 20 million digital reproductions. The Tor podcast originated Crimes on Catalunya Ràdio and has exceeded 1.5 million plays.
On TV3, Crimes had built up a loyal following of 3.6 million viewers since February 2020, when the first episode premiered. Since then, more than 888,000 people have watched each of the 33 episodes produced so far.
CRIMS is a digital phenomenon with 35 million plays of radio and television programmes on all platforms where it is present.
We imagine that in a few weeks, we will also be able to show record attendance figures for the Palau Robert exhibition.
That’s all. Is it? No, the last room houses a ‘secret’ door accessible only by a code. Do you want to know how to access it? You’ll have to solve the CRIMS game, which can be accessed via a QR code in the exhibition.
Be sure to visit the exhibition, at the very least, to discover what is hidden in this last room.
Physical experiences are more valuable than ever. And yes, like most experiences in life, perhaps it is better to be accompanied…
Ah! The exhibition, courtesy of Palau Robert, is free and does not require an entrance ticket or reservation.
An extra ‘tip’: on your way out, look at Palau’s beautiful skylight, where you’ll see a gun and a bag, signs that a CRIME has taken place!