Benera and Estefan
Citrus Tristeza, 2018
HD video, 15min.,14sec.

Citrus Tristeza is a virus that has led to the death of millions of citrus trees all over the world and has rendered millions of others useless for production. Farmers gave it the name tristeza (sadness), referring to the devastation produced by the disease.
The citrus virus appeared after the First World War and historically coincides with the rise of fascism in Europe. In their performative act in the public space, Benera and Estefan reflect on this historic coincidence, inspired by the unpublished text by Karl Polanyi, The fascist virus (1934). Polanyi identifies fascism with a virus that is always present within society but stays invisible, in a latent state, becoming virulent in times of systemic crisis. The artists are writing on the city walls by using the juice of squeezed lemons. While the lemon juice slowly evaporates, the text disappears before it can be read.

           
                                                                                                                                                                      


Citrus tristeza virus is a viral species of the genus Closterovirus that causes
the most economically damaging disease to its namesake plant genus, Citrus.
The disease has led to the death of millions of Citrus trees all over the world
and has rendered millions of others useless for production.
Farmers in Brazil and other South American countries gave it the name "tristeza",
meaning sadness in Portuguese and Spanish, referring to the devastation
produced by the disease in the 1930s.