The Bindle, 2018
Deborah Wasserman performer, David Ashford photographer, Queens, NY 2018
“Bindle,” the Yiddish word for bundle is a quilt, an item usually made by women and considered a handicraft, not a work of art although that is shifting. Wasserman pieced it together out of scraps of recovered women and children’s clothing, stained, distressed, their personal histories unknown.
Wasserman’s quilt emphasizes the very topical plight of women and children as they search for sanctuary and a new home with very few belongings, except, perhaps, for this merest of coverings, if even that. Wasserman uses the quilt in numerous ways, as an “artifact,” an object to be hung, and as a “document and a prop” to be included in her performances. Not only an essential possession, it can be bundled, used as a carrier of possessions, as nomadic peoples have done since time immemorial. It is also a micro-shelter, an intimate primal tent to be wrapped in, like swaddling cloths.
Wasserman compares her quilt to the “security” blanket of a child and as such, a psychological “transitional object” that represents the mother, signaling comfort, safety, and love. Her quilt, however, is figuratively reversible; we know that it is a flimsy safeguard against the harshness of certain realities that can easily shred them to pieces, against which they are ultimately, poignantly impotent."
From an essay by Lilly Wei, for Wonder, Woman, full-color catalog, 2018