Zhang Huan, "Q Confucius no. 2" (left) and "Q Confucius no. 6," part of an exhibit at the Rockbund Art Museum in Shanghai, 2012. Description by Professor Sam Crane, Williams College: "The big animatronic Confucius bust ("Q Confucius no. 2") is speechless: the Sage is not offering us his wise words. Rather, he just looms there, quietly inhaling and exhaling, in a shallow pool of water, a hulking presence. . . . Equally unusual is "Q Confucius no. 6," a robotic Confucius that lurches about within a steel cage. . . . [He] is not settled and comfortable. He thrashes about, armless (unable to hold on to anything), wordless, uncertain. To me, this does not suggest Confucianism as solution but, rather, Confucianism as another site of struggle and confusion and unrest. A supposed cultural golden age of the past cannot be reclaimed in the modern/postmodern present.
As we finish out unit I, this is a good time to reflect on the components we are hoping to tackle over the course of the semester:
Yu Dan on Confucius and the Confucius Temple Performances