ANAL-ACTS OF KUNGFU-CIUS is a pun on “Analects of Confucius” considered the core teachings of Confucius and locus of East Asian thought and morality, that originated China and spread to Japan and Korea which persists to this day. What the Western world views as “collectivism” and “conservatism” of these societies is a product of systemic brainwashing over generations by ruling classes that have co-opted Confucius’ teachings (such as those extolling the virtues of obedience and piety, maintaining social harmony via group orientation, adherence to a hierarchical world order, the non-role of women and minorities etc.) to validate their existence, and control the population; to such extent that these have become internalized and synonymous with notions of “asian identity”, “family values”, “ethics”, and “morality”.
Qing Dynasty scholar and writer Yuan Mei, as a means of expressing personal greivances with the Confucian establishment, compiled a collection of 747 short stories entitled 子不語 (Zi Buyi trans: What the Master Would Not Discuss) that were censored or considered taboo by the Confucian orthodoxy. These stories depicted a rich tapestry of daily life, including themes of ghosts, sex, betrayal, revenge, transvestism, homosexuality, and corruption – and was so popular that the government censored it in 1836 during attempts to suppress anti-establishment sentiment.
While it is easy to criticize Confucius for the chavunist prick that he was, and the chavunist pricks that came (pun intended) after, for the dysfunctions of contemporary asian societies; one should also cast aspersion on ruling establishment’s selective promulgation of specific elements and practices that benefit them.
Questioning and critical thought is dangerous for “social stability” and the ruling establishment, hence the primacy of rote learning, propagandistic curricula, and ritualistic practices in school and work environments. Yet Confucius had said:
Learning without thought is labor lost;
thought without learning is perilous
He, who learns but does not think, is lost.Confucius
He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.
Or how the ruling establishment justifies censorship, suppression of dissenting voices, and ongoing opperssion because Freedom of Speech is not an “asian value”. Yet, Confucius pointedly said:
I’d rather die for speaking out,Confucius
than to live and be silent.
ANAL-ACTS OF KUNGFU-CIUS is a collision of Eastern and Western hidden biases through a set of inspirational posters utilizing real quotes from Confucius paired with photography of mass-produced made-in-china deeply-discounted “decorative” butt plugs (likely made by chinese grandmother labor) befitting Western decor and sensibilities that make them apt allegorical (analgorical?) objet d’art – China’s weapons of (m)ass Destruction if you will. The pun on Kungfu both evokes and excoriates Western orientalist fascination and reductionism, and the practice’s unfailing uncritical conformance to preset paths determined by a master.
It pokes at (pun intended) how asian societies have been shafted by indoctrination of Confucius teachings utilizing tropes familiar to the West: its simultaneous decontextualized mystic “inspirations” (such as indian yoga, random japanese verb/pretension) and racial-sexualized denigration (such as “Confucius says” jokes, “in bed” fortune cookies) of the East, and the use of “Chop Suey”-like font (see https://laughingsquid.com/chop-suey-font/ and https://www.cnn.com/style/article/chop-suey-fonts-hyphenated/index.html for some historical context on “Asian” and “Chinese Takeout” fonts) . Through questionable objects, it questions the ideological and structural relationships between East and West, and finds both lacking.
CREATED BY: Stephen Chen | COMPLETED: 01/07/2023
- The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue.
- The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trial.
- Imagination is more important than knowledge
- It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
- It is better to light one small candle than curse the darkness
- A superior man is modest in his speech but exceeds in his actions.
- Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.
- Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.
- The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential… these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence.
- Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
- The man who says he can, and the man who says he cannot… are both correct.
- A man who does not plan long ahead will find trouble right at his door.
- “A great man is hard on himself; a small man is hard on others.”
- The superior man acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his action.
- He that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.
- Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance
- Do not be desirous of having things done quickly. Do not look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly prevents their being done thoroughly.
- When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals; adjust the action steps.
- Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
- Learn as if you were not reaching your goal and as though you were scared of missing it.
- Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs.
- When you are laboring for others let it be with the same zeal as if it were for yourself.
- Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.
- To know and not do, is to not yet know.
- The superior man thinks always of virtue; the common man thinks of comfort.
- Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage
- Ask yourself constantly; what is the right thing to do?
- The perfecting of one’s self is the fundamental base of all progress and all moral development.
- If you try to do too much, you will not achieve anything.