Agak-Agak (pronounced aa-guck aa-guck)
by Janette Hoe in collaboration with Ria Soemardjo and Mindy Meng Wang
“Agak-Agak is a playful reminisce on Ria, Mindy and my relationship with our grandmothers and the collective, fragmented details of our memories.
My work reflects on what ‘re-membered’ histories within the body are activated in improvisation. During the isolation of COVID-19 lockdown I was missing the sensorial stimuli of human contact. To escape the discomfort, I would sometimes drift into a space of daydream, recalling the times I spent with my grandmother, which comforted me emotionally.
Reminiscent of our grandmothers, I was interested to bring together the living archival bodies and shared cultural roots of my collaborators and I. I remember my grandmother for her amazing culinary skills. Her intuitive cooking style needed no written recipes or measuring tools but her memory, hands, senses and a simple ‘agak-agak’ approach was key.
‘Agak-agak’ is a Malay word that translates loosely as ‘to guess’ or ‘more or less’ and is the impetus for this video work. Like the act of re-membering, it may be fragmented in detail, but eventually an image or story (or in the case of my grandmother, some delicious Nyonya delicacies) takes form that links past and present.”