Last Tuesday our class began the discussion of Taste by defining criticism as a dialogue. Through the eyes of A.O. Scott, criticism has always been a democratic product, a social action that does not exist in a vacuum. The critic always considers its audience, even if it only exists in their head. This idea rang true when we revealed our Top 5 lists on the whiteboards- we each chose our favorites and least favorites with the knowledge that we would tell the people in this class, perhaps with the hope that it would spark a dialogue, and with our own social origins and histories- as critics.
Pierre Bordieu describes Taste as a culmination of one’s education, social origin and exposure- our likes and dislikes have to begin somewhere outside of ourselves. In the classroom, the whiteboard was full of music from the 90s, something a majority of the class was nostalgic for. In this 90s baby community we all relate, and can agree for the most part that some of our Taste was born in this certain time/certain place when/where we grew up. Reading what Bordieu had to say about the “pure gaze” made me think of Andrea Fraser, an artist and critic heavily influenced by Bordieu, who said that we must be aware of the institutions we (as people) bring to an institution. In this sense she means our institutions as ethnicity, gender, political affiliation, education, upbringing, etc. Although I know more or less what defines my own Taste and why, I was left with more questions after our class.
Are we limited by our Taste?
How often does our Taste change?
Do you think Taste is an institution?