Excerpts from the Analects of Confucius
In Excerpts from the Analects of Confucius, Peng Hung-Chih explores the relationship between Confucianism and religion. Specifically, the piece questions the influence of Confucian teachings on the role of the intellectual in contemporary Chinese society. While Confucianism has its own ritual systems and temples, it is not known to be overly concerned with supernatural beings such as gods and demons. Yet, the video shows a dog making phrases from the Analects appear by licking a wall repeatedly as if the dog is a medium channeling whisperings from an ancient spirit. Although the performance takes on the form of a miraculous apparition brought on by a prodigious dog, Peng Hung-Chih dispels the magical by including the sentence: “Confucius did not talk about prodigies, force, disorders, and gods.” This final statement, in contrast with the video, reveals the ambiguity with which the role of Confucius is received, the towering impact that his teaching and philosophy have had across world reaching a near sacred status.