Jennifer Juniper Stratford (also known as JJ Stratford) says she is "driving at hyper speeds these days," ripping time and space a new wormhole with her surrealist, intergalactic fantasy video work that fetishizes the future through the hopes and dreams of the past. Some of it recently showed up on these here internets as a mythological minimal glam collaboration with Geneva Jacuzzi called “Dark Ages.” JJ recently returned to her hometown of Hollywood from Copenhagen, where the curators of the International Documentary Film Festival paired her up with longtime collaborator John Maus so she could show off her experimental magic chops. Before that she was in Miami with Odd Future, working on a new show with them for Adult Swim. (That photo above is all of them together on Halloween; they thought she was dressed as Penny from Inspector Gadget, but she was in her own clothes.). And from now until the end of the year she’s spending every waking minute with those rascals, which is a lot of work because she never sleeps and they’re always spazzing out. We asked her for a full report on her interdimensional discoveries as of late.
VICE: You and Geneva Jacuzzi made this really awesome thing for us, and I couldn't watch it all in one sitting because I couldn't handle my own excitement levels for the sustained duration. How did this whole video/photo shoot/EP combo happen?
Jennifer Juniper Stratford: Initially when Lamaze came out, Geneva wanted me to do a video for “Do I Sad,” and I wanted to sandwich that song with “Relay Racer” and “Holograph,” which began the discussion of doing a longform video program rather than a traditional music video. The problem was we had no money, no camera, no studio, and we wanted to do it right. At one point I was going to trade [work] in exchange for studio time because we wanted to make it so bad, but then we had no way of getting lights. A year and a half later, VICE called and it was on!
How did you and Geneva start collaborating in the first place?
From 2004-2008, I made a public access show called Dungeon Majesty, which followed a Dungeons & Dragons campaign of four women. The show jumped in and out of reality as we slayed goblins, battled gargantuan paralyzing catipillars, searched dead bodies, and collected treasure, until finally defeating Kalmox the Wicked. Somehow Geneva became a fan and she sent me fanmail and asked me for a part on the show. However, since I was about to make the Multinauts, I offered her the part of Terracotta. During the pre-production, I'd call her on the phone to run ideas by her regarding the script, and the two of us would wind up talking for hours, thinking of far-out ideas for stories, laughing our heads off. Needless to say, we became really good friends because we seemed to be speaking the same language, especially in our work.
I love The Multinauts. One of the main themes of the show was to restore order in the Multiverse. Why fight the forces of chaos?
The Multinauts is set in a distant future on the verge of an apocalypse. The inhabitants are scared and living in constant danger from the corporations who rule them. These mega-corporations are constantly creating chaos as a way of keeping the people from gaining any power of their own.
Seems like it's part of the game of human existence that there's always gotta be this signifier of "evil," like, say, Lady Gaga totally ripping you off. What is the origination of dark forces?
In fiction I tend to lean towards cyberpunk themes, and in this day and age, what is more relevant than a mega-corporation run by a corporate warlord? In The Multinauts, since we were using an episodic television format, we not only wanted to make the antagonist an axis of evil, but for the audience to be unwittingly drawn to them. When evil is personified in a character like Oysters Rockafeller, it allows the audience to laugh at the ridiculousness of the cold-hearted corporate structure.
What happened to it?
Currently The Multinauts is touring the depths of limbo space in search of its next mission.
Ah, I see. You have basically discovered a way to time travel via the portal of special effects. I stalked you on your blog and you said you were on a "special effects bender." Can you please give us a report back from your interdimensional travel?
See pie chart:
You're clearly zoned in on outer space, technology, and alternate realities. What are you excited for about the future?
I can hardly contain my anticipation for transporter travel to become a reality, 24th century wisdom to be commonplace, and for Hungry Hungry Hippos in 3D to bomb at the box office after spending millions on CGI.
What now, JJ Stratford?
Currently I’m working with Odd Future as a production designer on a new show for Adult Swim. The group had a bunch of shows in Florida, so the production followed them out there to shoot a few skits in between shows. From now until the end of December I will be spending every single day with them, building sets and making costumes, props, and whatever else they let me put into their show. How's that for dimension hopping?
Pretty sweet. Here's a general question. How are you so awesome? Honestly, what got you to this place?
I dunno, I don't get enough sleep.