Gratuitous Art Films is a collaborative art project that finds the connections and inflections between today’s audience and yesterday’s bully pulpit. Gratuitous techniques have been keystones in both propaganda and film making in the 20th century and over time, connotations-symbolic, political or otherwise allow us to manipulate sound and images to gratuitously inflict our own narratives.

We at Gratuitous dig deep into the trenches of ephemera obscura, sourcing from over 65 years of public domain material ranging from the propaganda of the Prelinger archives, to the wax cylinders in Thomas Edison’s Attic. The very sources of the material form a foundational context that allows these short films to work with so many layers. The corporate lens and the time of its conception make each film source a treasure trove of metaphor and social relevance.

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