Here it is, the Austrian Voynich documentary we’ve been waiting so eagerly for – and you don’t even need to have a satellite dish to watch it (as long as you hurry, it’ll probably only be online for a few days).
(Hint and tip: if you click on the diagonal arrow button just above the video, you can watch it in your own media player – and if that happens to be Windows Media Player (*sigh*), don’t forget that you can turn on the (German) subtitles with the unforgettable key combination CTRL-SHIFT-C.)
The documentary features Micky Bet Rene Zandbergen chatting amiably with 21st century Voynich stalwarts Gordon Rugg and Richard SantaColoma, lots of “flying-low”-style rostrum sequences of the Voynich Manuscript, together with other historical / forensic talking heads you may not have heard of, such as Paula Zyats, Kevin Repp, Joseph Barabe, Gerhard Strasser and Greg Hodgins.
My German isn’t really industrial strength, but I’m reasonably sure I picked up most of the research-relevant stuff: a blue pigment that was tested was azurite, a red was red ochre (but I wasn’t sure about the green). And the 1404-1438 range was indeed 2-sigma (95%), and there’s a nice graph showing the peaks against the C14 dating curve.
The documentary showed Greg Hodgins slicing a fine edge off from the Quire 9 sexfolio: which I would argue is a Very Good Thing, because that is one of the bifolios least likely to be old vellum. Doubtless we shall hear more about this over the next few days…
I don’t know, though: at the end of the whole beautiful-looking documentary, the researcher part of me felt a tiny bit cheated – that for all their hard work, the documentary makers hadn’t really managed to engage with the last decade of proper Voynich research (and I don’t really include Gordon Rugg in that), but rather had steered their televisual plough along what I would call a resolutely “Voynich 1.0” furrow. Basically, whenever I hear keywords like “inquisition”, “alchemy”, “allegorical”, “Doctor Mirabilis” and “heresy”, something in me switches off: rather, I want to be hearing words like “layer”, “spectroscopic”, “multispectral”, “ductus”, “hands”, “composition”, “sequence”, “Raman”, “DNA”, “pollen”, “Urbino”, “ledger”, etc.
What do you think? Were Andreas Sulzer and his team wide of the target or did they actually hit the spot?