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Agak-Agak by Janette Hoe

January 27 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


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.”

Agak-Agak by Janette Hoe

Watch the artist, Janette Hoe, in conversation with Adolfo Aranjuez, talking about their work here:

Image credit: Janette Hoe in The Echoes Project. Photo by Damian Vincenzi.

Creative Direction, Choreographer, Performer

Janette Hoe is an independent Melbourne-based contemporary dance artist and performance maker. Her practice is grounded in Butoh, and informed by Eastern and Western somatic, movement-based improvisation modalities.

Janette identifies strongly with her hybrid Malaysian-Chinese-Indonesian heritage which carries through into rich stories in her visceral improvisation work. She is committed to working with other artists of colour, celebrating cultural diversity and advocating for contemporary work that is not relegated to ‘cultural’ or ‘community’ spaces in the mainstream.

Preferring to work site-specifically in non-theatre settings, her distinctive dance aesthetic intersects the narratives of time and place, with personal experiences, rituals and ancestry. Addressing themes of ‘home’, ‘sense of place’ and ‘loss’, her captivating and visually evocative performances invite audiences into landscapes where fragments of memory, lived experiences and imagination meet.

Over the last 25 years, Janette has created numerous solo performances and collaborative works with artists from various artforms, across cultures throughout Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Dance Australia Critics Survey nominated Janette ‘Dancer to Watch’ for her artistic-driven full length works No Candles Please (2006) and moths are calling (2014).  Granted an Australian Postgraduate Award, Janette completed a practice-led Masters by Research project investigating embodied histories in dance improvisation.

Facebook: Janette Hoe
Instagram: @janettehoe
Vimeo: Janette Hoe

Musician, Sound Design and Recording

Ria Soemardjo is a Melbourne based musician with a passion for collaborating with artists across diverse range of genres and artforms. Born in Melbourne, her distinct, haunting vocals and instrumental compositions reflect her Australian/Indonesian cultural heritage.  Over the last 10 years, Ria has created and performed music for a wide range of independent contemporary dance, theatre and mixed media projects in Australia and Asia.  Her recent projects reflect her interest in engaging audiences in powerful contemporary performance/rituals, often in response to a specific site.

Facebook: Ria Soemardjo
Instagram: @riasoemardjo


Mindy Meng Wang is an internationally renowned versatile Chinese/Australian composer and Guzheng performing artist. Born and classically trained in China, she studied western musicology in the UK and then migrated to Australia. She is a pioneer in bringing Guzheng (2500 years old Chinese Harp) into many western genres such as experimental, Jazz, western classical, Electronic and improvisation. She has collaborated with many high-profile artists and has frequently performed in many significant festivals, shows and venues in Australia, the UK, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and France.

Her work explores the fertile space between traditional and contemporary practices. Mindy’s long-term vision is to create a strong voice for young female composers/artists of Chinese heritage, and more importantly, create a deeper and reciprocal musical connection between Australia and China.

Facebook: Mindy Meng Wang
Instagram: @mindy_mengwang
YouTube: Mindy Meng Wang
Soundcloud: Mindy Meng Wang
BandCamp: Mindy Meng Wang

Dramaturg, Videographer

Takashi Takiguchi is an independent Creative Producer and an artist of Japanese heritage based in Naarm (Melbourne).  Major projects include ButohOUT! Festival (Melbourne 2017-2020) with Yumi Umiumare; Melaka Art & Performance Festival (2016-2020) with Tony Yap.  He is a recipient of Victorian Independent Producers Initiatives (VIPI) from Theatre Network Australia.

Facebook: Impermanence Productions

Agak-Agak by Janette Hoe is presented as part of Mapping Melbourne 2020-21.

Featured image credit: Agak-Agak by Janette Hoe. Photos by Damian Vincenzi and Eelin Cheah.





January 27
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm