Our Future Ends is a multidisciplinary satire about near-extinct lemurs and the long-lost continent of Lemuria. Parallel extinctions 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. The live performance premiered at CounterPulse in San Francisco and was the Outfest Platinum Centerpiece at REDCAT Theatre in Los Angeles in 2018.
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. It is a parable that connects threats of extinction to wildlife and marginalized communities.
Written, Directed, Animated and Created by Clement Hil Goldberg
Starring: Brontez Purnell, Heather María Ács, Maryam Farnaz Rostami, Xandra Ibarra, Zackary Drucker, Ben McCoy, Silas Howard and Siobhan Aluvalot. 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 by 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, Sumathi Ramaswamy author of The Lost Land of Lemuria Fabulous Geographies, Catastrophic Histories, UC Berkeley Art Practice, BCNM, Tiffany Naiman, Natalie Coblentz and immense gratitude to 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.
PRESS AND LINKS
“Writer-director Clement Hil Goldberg has created a 50-minute masterpiece of surrealist political satire combining live action [performance] and stop-motion animation. A fantasy confection of glitter, style, kitsch and karma, Our Future Ends offers a neat, binary analogy between an anthropomorphized population of endangered lemurs and a postmodern cult of queer spirituality. The idea is that parallel stories of extinction face the animal population and authentically indie queer spaces, as each is threatened by forces of commerce, industrialism, opioids and cultural appropriation. There are songs and dances, DJs and video, all starring Brontez Purnell, Heather María Ács and Siobhan Aluvalot, with Zackary Drucker, Silas Howard, Xandra Ibarra, Ben McCoy and Maryam Farnaz Rostami as voices of the ancient, imperiled animated Malagasy.”
— LA WEEKLY, by Shana Nys Dambrot
Epilogue For Our Future Ends at The STUD in San Francisco 2018
Our Future Ends, Premiere at CounterPulse in San Francisco 2017
Our Future Ends at CounterPulse, San Francisco, October 2017. Photos by Robbie Sweeny:
Behind The Scenes
Our Future Ends at BAMPFA 2016
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