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Peak Performances Launches Reimagined PEAK JOURNAL In A Virtual, Multimedia Format

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PEAK Performances today launches the reimagined version of its innovative PEAK Journal as an online, multimedia publication.

Peak Performances Launches Reimagined PEAK JOURNAL In A Virtual, Multimedia Format

PEAK Performances today launches the reimagined version of its innovative PEAK Journal as an online, multimedia publication.

For four years, the journal has thoughtfully responded to themes arising in PEAK's seasons at the Alexander Kasser Theater at Montclair State University, considering and expanding the discussions the live works create-and sparking entirely new ones.

As this pandemic era has necessitated innovation and hybridity to keep performance alive, in the absence of a season per se, PEAK Journal has likewise been given a new form to best reach audiences, deepening and extending the crucial, stirring conversations performance evokes. Moving online and to longer-form commissions creates room for more experiential forms, with artists able to incorporate varied media in their work.

The first three works published in the online journal are by acclaimed dance artists Jeanine Durning ("To Return: a difficult transcendence"), Simone Forti ("Poems from the Lockdown"), and Rashaun Mitchell ("A Score for Survival While Black"). Their writing, here, interacts-and is brought into new dimensions-with media including photography, video, audio, and illustrations by the authors.

In developing ideas with artists for the pieces that would launch the online journal, Editor Claudia La Rocco kept coming back to three questions, given a particular urgency amidst this rapidly morphing moment of disease and political horror-as well as momentous social uprising and reckoning. What is necessary to say now? What shouldn't wait? Whose voices do we feel the need to hear? These were paired with the desire, expressed to the first three artists La Rocco commissioned for the online journal, to create "something experiential, something felt." A note from La Rocco introducing the reimagined publication begins, "It has fast become a cliché in 2020 to say that last year, last month, last week, yesterday feel already like another lifetime, another world. I suppose this is always the case, but it seems inescapable now: no avoiding how changeable, how tenuous, this and we all are...What do I remember of who and where I was in early May, when I sent invitations out to Jeanine, Rashaun, and Simone? I was wanting something made of time and space, something embodied ... perhaps this is why the first people I thought of were dance artists."

La Rocco describes typically beginning the process of creating the PEAK Journal with a "free-ranging conversation" with Executive Director of Arts + Cultural Programming/PEAK Performances Jedediah Wheeler, discussing ideas and questions underlying his live programming decisions-a loose back-and-forth that yields new ideas and invitations from there. This time, their conversation moved towards working in a form that responds to the uncertainties of when live audiences would return to the theaters (including the Kasser)-a form that itself is suffused with elements of performance.

La Rocco says, "Jed has always been adamant that my editorial approach not involve a 1:1 relationship between the programming and the journal, but that the connections be more tangential and oblique, which is right up my alley." The journal's new virtual home has led these conversations to evolve in even more fluid directions. Adds La Rocco, "Maybe because I am a writer who grew up in the performing arts, I have long been interested in the idea of page as stage. I am always looking to be held by art, no matter the form: to be in a world, an experience, a mystery, a consciousness. Moving the journal online has allowed us to think about media components that haven't been possible in previous years.


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