WGBH Openvault

New Television; New Television, Episode 306; Confessions of a Chameleon

Part of New Television Workshop.

At the onset of the Lynn Hershman's work, she tells the audience that as a child she used fantasy to escape the abusive reality of her home life, inventing elaborate stories. This introduction casts a shadow of doubt over the stories she proceeds to tell, which includes accounts of attending college at the age of 12, working as a call girl, and spending several years in a hospital on the brink of death. The woman describes her practice of taking on, or impersonating, many personalities. The editing technique is one of interruption. Before a story comes to completion, the work will cut to another image of the same woman, in slightly different apparel, telling another story. Often, the same image appears in multiples, or several unique images appear at once. All of the work is shot in varying degrees of close-ups. The narrator continues to confuse the viewer, as at the end of the work when she claims, "I always tell the truth." This short segment shows Hershman describing the fantasy world she would retreat into during her childhood, and the blurring of the lines between fantasy and reality. Approximate date: 1986

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New Television
New Television, Episode 306
Program Number



Confessions of a Chameleon

Series Description

"New Television" began as a local pilot production of WNET (New York) in 1986. In 1987, WGBH signed on as co-producer, and the shows were aired in Boston and New York. In 1988 and 1989, KCET (Los Angeles) and WETA (D.C.) became producers in association. In 1991, PBS picked up "New Television," and it was broadcast nationally. The following year, the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, replaced WNET, WETA, and KCET as co-producer with WGBH. In 1993, WGBH ceased to be a co-producer for the series, and the "home base" moved to Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) in Hartford, CT.

"New Television" commissioned, produced, and acquired programming. In its early years, "New Television" broadcast works commissioned by The Contemporary Art Television (CAT) Fund. Increasingly, experimental films as well as video works were broadcast as a part of this series. Many of the later episodes of "New Television" contain works that play with and deconstruct the documentary genre. Series release date: 1986

Program Description

Includes a segment of “The Art of Memory” by Woody Vasulka, “Confessions of a Chameleon” by Lynn Hershman, and “Common Mistakes” by Jeanne Finley.

Asset Type


Media Type


Hershman-Leeson, Lynn, 1941-
Film and Television
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “New Television; New Television, Episode 306; Confessions of a Chameleon,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 26, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_79D3210E3251484293CCEAC72C51FC90.
MLA: “New Television; New Television, Episode 306; Confessions of a Chameleon.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 26, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_79D3210E3251484293CCEAC72C51FC90>.
APA: New Television; New Television, Episode 306; Confessions of a Chameleon. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_79D3210E3251484293CCEAC72C51FC90
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