The palm tree is a powerful symbol, evoking desirable cities with favorable climates and waterfronts. It is an inexorable feature of urban wealth and leisure landscapes. But it is also a symbol of remote wilderness, of countryside, of agricultural production—of global peripheries that have been virtually forgotten. In recent years, the palm has started to represent a crucial, if less visible, dynamic—the growth and globalization of agroindustrial production that is increasingly consuming land and landscapes around the globe, redefining traditional meanings of the rural.
Photograph: Bas Princen, Palm Oil Factory, Johor, Malaysia, 2015.