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Evan Fitzgerald

first performed on December 6, 2019
The Front Gallery, Montpelier, VT
performed once in 2019


Montpelier, VT


There are many things that we’re doing that no longer serve us well, but we keep holding on. “52 goodbyes” offers an opportunity to set free things we no longer need and let go of the structures and objects that we could become less attached to (convenience, lack of self-reflection, greediness). In this performance I sat at a small table with 52 envelopes—imprinted with the word “goodbye”—and many sheets of paper, pens, and pencils. I engaged people with the question, “What could the world say goodbye to?” And then I asked if they would like to write their responses on a piece of paper—when they agreed, they would place the response in the envelope, wet the flap, and seal.

Ana wrote, “Climate Injustice: bring on the fashion revolution!” Thirteen people made note of the word “plastic” somewhere in their response. Fifteen-year-old Lee contributed, “The idea that women can’t have dicks!” in bubble letters. When Rick came in, I asked him, “What could the world say goodbye to?” He looked at me, looked away, and started to cry. Turning back, he said, “I can’t right now” and walked out the door. Forty-five minutes later Rick came back and wrote a letter to his mother, who was on her death-bed in hospice care. He wished for her to have the ability to let go when it felt right. Si wanted to say goodbye “to my own self-blame. For your own mistakes + faults because you can’t face yourself. I have faced you now just in time to know to turn away from you.”

“52 goodbyes” was simultaneously presented to a wider audience on Instagram, where twenty people submitted responses such as “Rigidity,” “… a lack of courage,” “corporate greed,” and “The patriarchy, duh…” I wrote these contributions down for those who participated and sealed the goodbye envelopes.

Once all the envelopes were filled, I placed two stools near the table with the instruction: sit, open the envelopes, read the goodbyes. For the duration of the show, people sat and read.