WGBH Openvault

New Television; Damnation of Faust: Will-O'-the-Wisp (A Deceitful Goal)

Part of New Television Workshop.

This short piece, the second installment of Dara Birnbaum's "Damnation of Faust" trilogy, features a woman, Caatje Cusse, seated by a window, talking about her now defunct relationship with an unidentified man. Images of children playing on the street and leaves blowing in slow motion are interspersed. The credits indicate that it was shot in the South Village in New York and that it is dedicated to both the history of that place and a trip to France. Music by Mike Nolan and Paul Jacobs accompanies this segment. "Damnation of Faust: Will-O'-the-Wisp" was created by video artist Dara Birnbaum in 1985 for the Contemporary Art Television (CAT) Fund. It was shown with the entire "Damnation of Faust" trilogy, as part of episode 106 (1991) of "New Television." It may also have been broadcast on "Alive From Off Center." Produced and directed by Dara Birnbaum. Approximate date: 1985

License Clip
New Television

Damnation of Faust: Will-O'-the-Wisp (A Deceitful Goal)

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

Asset Type


Media Type


Birnbaum, Dara
Interpersonal relations
Film and Television
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “New Television; Damnation of Faust: Will-O'-the-Wisp (A Deceitful Goal),” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed February 26, 2020, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_C08C1270A658473CA389649209AEAC79.
MLA: “New Television; Damnation of Faust: Will-O'-the-Wisp (A Deceitful Goal).” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. February 26, 2020. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_C08C1270A658473CA389649209AEAC79>.
APA: New Television; Damnation of Faust: Will-O'-the-Wisp (A Deceitful Goal). Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_C08C1270A658473CA389649209AEAC79
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