To commit to memory
Artist(s)/Author(s): Lois M Bielefeld
Format: Book
Edition: Edition of 100
ISBN: 978-0-578-96630-4
Publisher: self-published
Date Published/Produced: 9/2021
Date Aired/Exhibited: 10/16/2021
City Produced/Published: Milwaukee
Reference Number: 33692.BI
Acquisition Date: 8/22/2022

To commit to memory delves into my parent’s life, particularly their conservative Evangelical traditions and how this plays out within the home. The genesis for this series was a video piece, Thank you Jesus, for what you are going to do, I made of my mom’s daily practice of planking (13 minutes!) while reciting memorized Bible verses. After completing the video in March 2020, I questioned what does it mean for me, a queer and atheist artist, to share work about deep devotion/faith? Being on different ends of the political spectrum, my parents and I constantly straddle a wide ideology chasm yet somehow, we negotiate and bridge our differences through this project. I’m interested in how the labor of looking can be a type of active listening that leads to understanding. This has led to this in-depth series looking at their complex personhood while wading through my own position. 

Through photographic re-enactments, I examine domesticity, power relations, ritual, faith, aging and memory. I look at the house as a container and how it has been marked and manifested through their everyday movements, aesthetics, and use. I'm interested in both the imprint they've made on the house but also the imprint the house has made on them. What is the space of knowing? Knowing through familial relationships, knowing connected to routine and ritual, knowing in conjunction to where we spend our time.

Each portrait is dually titled. My parents and I each developed our own caption for each photograph. The top title is my parents and mine follows. This creates a dual-voiced narrative that weaves through the book.

Book Details:

Lois Bielefeld: To commit to memory

Limited edition of 100 copies

Clothbound Hardcover: Smyth Sewn

8.75”x10.75 (Portrait)

132 pages

100# Uncoated Ultra White

Endpapers French Paper

Foil Stamped


Essay by Shannon Brennan, Assistant Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at Carthage College

Designed by Mark Brautigam

Printed by Conveyor Studios

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