Roswitha Weingrill (AT)

How to fold a palm tree

Installation / Visual arts

Wind-swept palm trees, their bending and waving said to be visual indications of the force of the wind, are a classical image in reports on hurricanes in the south of the USA.


Body Luggage

Kneaded Knowledge

The most common species of palm in Florida, Dictyosperma album, is also known as the hurricane palm. The reason is its ability to shed its leaves in strong wind so as to avoid serious damage to its trunk. This natural safety mechanism seems rather drastic at first sight, after all it is the characteristic shape of the leaves that identifies palm trees as signposts to the beach paradise.

The effects of tropical cyclones can be felt in Austria as a business location too. For example, certain windows from the Gaulhofer company intended for export to the US have to fulfil numerous safety standards. The video of such an impact test was the starting point for the piece on show here – it features the simulation of a wind force range that the panes withstand, while the structure of the house itself is pushed to the limit. “How to fold a palm tree” takes off from this aspect of seemingly absurd safety needs.

But what remains to be done in the dawn of global warming when nature unleashes its destructive forces? In numerous guides on the right behaviour in the event of an impending natural disaster, a safe and stable shelter is crucial. The motto here is wait for the storm and then sit it out when the forces of nature gain the upper hand. Roswitha Weingrill creates such a shelter in the Needle with her installation “How to fold a palm tree” – handily folded up without any creases so as to save space. 

Commissioned by steirischer herbst

“How to fold a palm tree” was created thanks to the sponsoring partnership of steirischer herbst and Gaulhofer Industrie-Holding.