Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tree Sculpture in the Snow

'Tree Sculpture Version 3' by Jina Wallwork

Some recent pictures of my tree sculpture. I love the contrast between the winter snow and the orange color.

'Tree Sculpture Version 3 (detail)' by Jina Wallwork

Friday, December 17, 2010

Justice and J.S. Mill

 I have recently been reading the material for lecture 2 of Justice by Harvard University. The reading for this lecture can be found here. Below are my thoughts on this writing from J.S.Mill.
“... a person in whom the social feeling is at all developed, cannot bring himself to think of the rest of his fellow creatures as struggling rivals with him for the means of happiness, whom he must desire to see defeated in their object in order that he may succeed in his. The deeply rooted conception which every individual even now has of himself as a social being, tends to make him feel it one of his natural wants that there should be harmony between his feelings and aims and those of his fellow creatures.”-J.S.Mill
I do enjoy the notion of creation of happiness for the whole of society. It is difficult to achieve harmony between your own feelings and the aims of others. It is rare that people will tell you what makes them truly happy. They will show you a persona of themselves. They desire to be seen as successful and important. This persona will limit their capacity to reveal their true desires, because it will also reveal what they consider to be, their own failings. You would be making decisions based on the persona and not the truth. You would be making decisions based on what you believe would make another person happy. Happiness is incredibly complex it would be very difficult to define someone else’s perception of it.

Justice as viewed by J.S.Mill

“it is universally considered just that each person should obtain that (whether good or evil) which he deserves; and unjust that he should obtain a good, or be made to undergo an evil, which he does not deserve... Speaking in a general way, a person is understood to deserve good if he does right, evil if he does wrong; and in a more particular sense, to deserve good from those to whom he does or has done good, and evil from those to whom he does or has done evil. The precept of returning good for evil has never been regarded as a case of the fulfilment of justice, but as one in which the claims of justice are waived, in obedience to other considerations.” - J.S.Mill
If I decided who was deserving of good or evil, who would I become? I would be evil in the presence of evil and good in the presence of those who are good. Why would I surrender my own personal power, based on the behaviour of others?
“Justice implies something which it is not only right to do, and wrong not to do, but which some individual person can claim from us as his moral right. No one has a moral right to our generosity or beneficence, because we are not morally bound to practise those virtues towards any given individual.”- J.S.Mill
How can you practise those virtues at all, if you withhold them from select individuals? If you withhold them, the behaviours associated with those virtues become acts of manipulation. They become tools to receive other things and no longer a virtue.
“It is natural to resent, and to repel or retaliate, any harm done or attempted against ourselves, or against those with whom we sympathise. The origin of this sentiment it is not necessary here to discuss. Whether it be an instinct or a result of intelligence...”
“retribution, or evil for evil, becomes closely connected with the sentiment of justice,”- J.S. Mill
Revenge is not an act of intelligence. It takes a great deal of thought and intellectual skill to control the need for revenge. We want the other person to feel our pain and we desire to inflict it. We try to convince ourselves that we do this so the other person can learn, understand and modify their behaviour. We don’t accept their behaviour and we hold on to the anger until we do. Through acceptance comes forgiveness. It is a great achievement to forgive; it is one of the hardest things you will ever do. The reward is the wonderful piece of mind that allows you to move on with your life.

Below is Lecture 2 from Justice by Harvard University. J.S. Mill is referred to later in the lecture.

Justice by Harvard University is available here.
My thoughts on the first lecture are available here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Artist Portraits

'Lyonel Feininger' by Jina Wallwork

'Max Beckmann' by Jina Wallwork

'August Macke' by Jina Wallwork

'Heinrich Campendonk' by Jina Wallwork
'Franz Marc' by Jina Wallwork
Taken from the Artists Portrait Series.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Moment of Privacy Has Passed - The Usher Gallery

September 2010 by Jina Wallwork

Above is a sketchbook from September 2010. It will be exhibited at 'The Moment of Privacy Has Passed' The Usher Gallery, Danes Terrace, Lincoln, LN21LP, Great Britain. 11th December 2010 - 6th March 2011.

The exhibition will also include sketchbooks by Grayson Perry and Simon Faithfull. The exhibtion will be accompanied by a two-day conference, entitled 'Recto Verso' at The Collection on the 10th and the 11th Febuary 2011. The conference will question the position of the sketchbook within the artistic practice of 21st century artists.

The full list of participating artists is available at

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Right and Wrong - Jeremy Bentham

"Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do." -Jeremy Bentham

Bentham believed that we should take action based on what produces pleasure and elevates pain. He believed this is how to make good moral decisions; to consider our own happiness and the happiness of others should be our greatest concern. The pursuit of happiness is a driving force in the lives of many. However, happiness can never be fully understood or appreciated without sorrow. I would not desire to inflict pain on another. However I do recognize the value in the experience of sorrow. It has always been reflective of periods of intense emotional growth.

The video below contains the first lecture from Harvard University's course on Justice. It contains a variety of moral dilemma's and is a very interesting lecture that also relates to Jeremy Bentham's philosophical ideas. 

The dilemmas place you in situations where killing could be seen as an act that would serve the greater good. I kept imaging myself within each situation. I recognized that within those situations it would not occur to me to take a life. I wouldn't create the dilemma for myself, because I wouldn't recognize it as a solution. It would take a different kind of mind to be aware of those options.

This video and associated reading material can be found at The complete course 'Justice' by Harvard University is available on this site.