Captain Robert Smith (1787–1873) served as an engineer in the East India Company from 1752 to 1761. He was also an artist, whose favourite subject was the landscape of Penang, which he painted very much with a European eye. The form of this painting I borrowed from the painting ‘Blackbird, Sun and Man’3 (1907) (formally known as ‘The Musician’), by the brilliant Indonesian artist Affandi (1907–1990). The function of the dead in art and literature has traditionally been to remind the living of their limits. In this way Captain Smith is presented as a fearless ‘necronaut’: a dislocated zombie, reporting back from the dead.