F O N O - O P T I K

assemblages & improvisations

Barry Brown & Irene Proebsting

e: info@fono-optik.com


FIELD, Super 8mm film, colour, sound, 6 mins.

An evocative, poetic contemplation upon asthetic chance featuring a soundscore for 6 guitars and slow motion toy recorders.
Field is screening in the Portal at the LRG Morwell until October 6th.
Curated by Gabriella Duffy.

More here: FIELD



… A meditation on bureaucracy… Steve Middleton, 3RRR Art Show

Elliptical, hybrid reportage documenting the privatization of the Victorian Electricity industry. Draws upon the political theatre of Erwin Piscator, B grade sci-fi, constructivist design and classical silent cinema.

Industrial Vesper #11 is currently part of a new media emulation program being conducted by the Digital Media Heritage Lab at Swinburne University.

More here: Virtualities


RISING THERMAL, 2022, 9.46 mins, Video from original Super 8 Film

Rising Thermal was part of the FRAGILE EARTH: EXTINCTION exhibition, 2022, Gippsland Art Gallery, SALE.

Rising Thermal creates an unsettling, ominous atmosphere of uneasiness reflecting on the rising temperature of earth’s warming atmosphere and how it is causing catastrophic changes to Alpine Regions and the species that live there.


EDGE OF THE RANGE, 2018, 6min, B&W/Col, Super 8mm.

An important stand of Strzelecki Gums and 2 HA of vegetation near Latrobe River in danger of being cut down for road widening.


Image: Still from Industrial Nocturne No. 2

INDUSTRIAL NOCTURNE NO. 2, 2016, 6min, Col/B&W, Video.

Industrial Nocturne No. 2 examines class, identity and ideological fabrication via fractured auras and strategic abstractions and is concerned with (i) the absence of full and meaningful employment (ii) the intransience of capital to formulate sustainable organisational modes and (iii) post industrial alienation.

The video amalgamates archival photographs from the former State Electricity Commission Victoria, Super 8 freeze frames of the decaying (now demolished) Yallourn E Power Station and recent B&W stills of disused power utility infrastructure. The industrial images are augmented by ambivalent agitprop intertitles and miscellaneous snapshots.

The texts are a collage and composite of diffuse narrative elements combining payroll codes, medical interviews, mechanical inventories and polemical slapstick. The uncertain queries, directives and interjections form a sinister inquiry.

Haunted, whimsical and alogical, an oscillating montage of obscure ambiences, (in)discreet didactics & random occlusions. Part hystorical cut-and-paste, part contemporary critique of capital, Industrial Nocturne No. 2 unfolds at the interstices of documentary illusion and absurdist fiction.



POSTLUDE, 2013, 3min, Col, Super 8mm.

Scored for 128 magnetic-tape guitars, an ultra-minimalist exploration of hyper-velocity and abstract consonance.



ABANDONED EMPIRE, 2012, 9 min, Col, Super 8mm.

Features an immersive, futurist muzak soundscape of metallic anti-rhythm, dysphonic strings and hyper-mechanical auras. Exhibited in DISCREET MONTAGE at Latrobe Regional Gallery, Morwell.



HARMONIC GHOSTS, 2009, 2:30min, B&W, Super 8.

… where faintly Gothic images brush against each other like dry, blown leaves… Jake Wilson, RealTime

A random montage of unknown passers-by and incidental scenery is transformed into an ambient horror photoplay by a somnambulist drone performed on six amplified electronic guitar tuners.

abstraction    documentary constructs    
error muzak    inconclusive fiction

Irene Proebsting and Barry Brown live in Boola Boola, Gippsland on Gunaikurnai Country and have collaborated on numerous analogue and digital media works incorporating experimental audio, photo-media, super 8 film, text and video.

Their cinema and installation pieces utilise a variety of styles and genres ranging from neo verity to sci-fi pop noir and feature immersive mise-en-phónics. The sound designs are inspired by and reconfigure early audio mixing techniques, in particular experiments at the transition from mono to stereo.  

Recurring areas of investigation include alienation, the unconscious, and the quotidian.

They are currently interested in two strains of experimental (non) fiction – documentary reverie, and oblique agitprop narratives.



AUTOMATIC, installation work in progress.

Featuring a soundscore by the Anti Art Riot Quartet.



Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, Berlin

Latrobe Regional Gallery, Morwell

Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale



Rising Thermal by Irene Proebsting & Barry Brown, Gippsland Art Gallery, Gallery News, Vol 54, No. 1, Spring 2023

"Between movement and statis" by Kate Zizys, Imprint: Quarterly Journal of the Print Council of Australia, Vol 55, No. 4, Summer 2020

"Two films predominantly about trees" by Irene Proebsting
Film Is
, Issue 2, Oct 2018

"Instruments for Chorus and Orchestra: A polemical feminist reading" 
by Kate Zizys, Innersense Melbourne Independent Filmmakers, 2019

“Mise-en-phónics” by Jake Wilson, discreet montage catalogue,
Jul-Dec 2016

“Experimental Film: State of play” by Jake Wilson: Australian International Experimental Film Festival, RealTime, Issue #104
Aug-Sept 2011 pg. 35

“Naked 8, Heinz Boeck examines the state of Super 8”,
by Heinz Boeck, Cinema Papers, No. 114, February 1997.

“Industrial Vesper #11” by B. Brown & I. Proebsting.
Cantrills Filmnotes, No. 79-80, November 1995.

“(silent cinema) or the lazy fitter” by Barry Brown Melbourne
Super Eight Group Newsletter, Special 100th Issue, March 1995.





© Barry Brown & Irene Proebsting 2023

Amphitheatre Press Publications