Back when I was living in NJ working a string of bad temp jobs, my roommate and I made it a habit to go through Comcast On Demand on a ritualistic basis and watch all the Something Weird videos, any music video we’d not heard of, all the Misty Mundae movies, and anything we’d deemed appropriately obscure. During this time, I swear we watched Dungeon Majesty. If we didn’t, my roommate and I watched it somehow, somewhere. And when we did, it was our equivalent of seeing the light. Part cable access camp (before Tim and Eric were names), part geek-chic and 100% brilliant, we both knew whoever was behind it was living the dream we’d always wanted to live.
Fast forward to present and my discovery of said genius, the video artist/photographer Jennifer Juniper Stratford. Much like Dungeon Majesty, I stumbled across her latest work The Multinauts but this time on the internet. If Dungeon Majesty was a 100% brilliant, this was a 120%. Incredibly ambitious the current two shows of The Multinauts run approximately 20 minutes each in length. Both shows boast an impressive array of visual effects, including model-making, 2D animation, various analog and optical techniques created by Stratford.
If The Multinauts only fired the visual neurons with pleasure, it would be enough. But The Multinauts is much more. It is funny, strange, unclassifiable, art-house Tom Baker era Doctor Who crossed with the Unearthed Arcana. To boot, The Multinauts features the music of Ariel Pink, Geneva Jacuzzi and has cameos of like-minded artist Leslie Hall.
I conducted the following interview with Stratford where she talks about The Multinauts and her other work as an artist.
Could you talk a little about the things that influenced The Multinauts?
On the surface level, The Multinauts is influenced by Dr Who (specifically Doctors 4-6), Max Headroom 20 Minutes into the Future, and Star Trek the Next Generation. In RPG terms it tips its hat to Dungeons and Dragons, Gamma World, Star Frontiers, and my beloved Shadowrun. The use of the Multiverse is inspired by Michael Moorcock. The script is written by Christine Adolph, Riley Swift, and myself (Centari, Xanthor, and Gigs ) and we would constantly refer to all these references with our deepest affection and then would add our personal touches to the characters.