Our Future Ends is a multidisciplinary satire about near-extinct lemurs and the long-lost continent of Lemuria. Parallel extinction narratives oscillate between projection and theater, the work combines live performances set in a newly imagined Lemuria with stop motion animation lemurs voiced by Brontez Purnell, Heather María Ács, Maryam Farnaz Rostami, Xandra Ibarra, Zackary Drucker, Ben McCoy, Silas Howard and Siobhan Aluvalot, as well as video documentation of lemur primates at the Duke Lemur Center.
Lemurs (from the word lemure, or ghost) are the most endangered mammals on the planet. The displaced primates are housed in captive breeding programs for research and to maintain diverse genetic populations, but even if their species is rehabilitated to adequate numbers in captivity they will not be able to return home. After 60 million years, Madagascar is no longer an option as 90% of their original forests are gone and deposits of mineral riches continue to be mined.
Lemuria (a precursor to the occult city of Atlantis) was an imagined site of catastrophic loss. Its first incarnation was on a map created by zoologist Mr. P. L. Sclater in the late 1850’s as part of an exercise that speculated a submerged land bridge to explain continental drift (how the lemurs got to Madagascar). Moved to resurrect the sunken land mass, Theosophist HP Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine, situates Lemurians as queer prehistoric entities—a failed race that went extinct along with the Atlanteans. Our Future Ends reimagines the occult account as a queer and trans origin story about the extinction of telepathic beings.
Our Future Ends is a parable that connects threats of extinction to wildlife and marginalized communities. The wildlife population has declined by half since 1972—a shared arc of disappearance for the artists, culture, and community lost to the AIDS crisis. In an emotional way and in terms of endangerment and preservation efforts, these everyday extinctions are tethered to what is happening with queer spaces across this country. San Francisco’s 107 year old gay bar The Gangway just closed its doors the same week as the Eastern Cougar was declared extinct. By 2020 nearly two-thirds of wildlife may be lost to the planet. Queer spaces, meanwhile, face a similar fate.
Written, Directed, Animated and Created by Clement Hil Goldberg
Choreography by Larry Arrington, Costume Design by Margaret Bolton Grace, Lighting Design by Jerry Lee, Original Music by Ted M. Superstar and Hale May, Original Animation Score by Ted M. Superstar, Sound Engineering Sophia Poirier.
Visual Art Installation and Set Design Collaborators Jerry Lee, Conrad Meyers, Maryam Farnaz Rostami with Clement Hil Goldberg. Special thanks to CounterPulse, Duke Lemur Center and their lemurs, Sumathi Ramaswamy author of The Lost Land of Lemuria Fabulous Geographies, Catastrophic Histories, and Bett Williams and Beth Hill.
This work was made possible in part by awards from The Creative Work Fund, a program of the Walter and Elise Haas Fund that also is supported by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the San Francisco Arts Commission.
Support Our Future Ends as it continues to be staged with a tax-deductible contribution to Some Serious Business. Please write “OFE” in the note accompanying your PayPal donation.
Our Future Ends at CounterPulse, San Francisco, October 2017. Photos by Robbie Sweeny:
Our Future Ends installation at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive 2016:
Viewing Crystal Collaborators:
Design by Maryam Rostami with Clement Fabrication by Conrad Meyers
Special Thanks to UC Berkeley Art Practice, The Duke Lemur Center, Dr. Sumathi Ramaswamy, and Natalie Coblentz