Commodore Odatha a.k.a. Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein

During the late 17th century when the VOC (Dutch East India Company) controlled trade along the Malabar coast, the former Dutch governor Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein collaborated with local doctors, botanists, translators and artisans to produce the Hortus Malabaricus. Printed in Amsterdam between 1678-1693, it is a 12-volume work illustrating around 700 indigenous plants that explains their medicinal properties, with captions in 5 different languages.
Upon entering on the right, Commodore Odatha a.k.a. Hendrik van Reede tot Drakenstein is a multi-channel installation that brings the spectres of the past into the present and raises questions about the legacy of the Hortus Malabaricus in anno 2012. What is the contemporary value of the knowledge contained in this book, what do we really know about how and why it was produced, and in particular, what were the incentives of this particular man?

The production of the Hortus Malabaricus and the knowledge contained within it is still significant today. It also forms the conceptual focal point of the works that will be on display in the exact location where historians believe the Hortus Malabaricus was originally produced. This exhibition consists of 3 video installations, one in each of the main rooms at David Hall, combined with archival objects and indigenous plants contributed by the local community that are contained within the Hortus Malabaricus.