F O N O - O P T I K

assemblages & improvisations

Barry Brown & Irene Proebsting

e: info@fono-optik.com


First Aid - Industrial Vesper #11, 1994, digital print (For an hystorical background to this work, see the Cantrills Filmnotes article in the bibliography below.)

Latrobe Regional Gallery

Curated by David O'Halloran

4th Sep to 7th Nov 2021



Mayana (1995-96, 8.27 mins, Super 8 Film)

Oblique, post-verity diary and Australian landscape study documenting a visit to family in the remote town of Booligal. Set to immersive, minimalist, mise-en-phonics. A nomadic and suspended examination of documentary illusion, authenticity and figurative fiction.

Mayana screening at La Mama Cinematica!: Place & Identity

Curated by Tessa Spooner

7.30pm 19th Sep 2021


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.



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 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.



SYNTHETIC PHANTOMS, installation work in progress.
Part 2 of an absurdist ambient trilogy examining post-industrial milieus.



"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 2021

Amphitheatre Press Publications