Charlie Behrens’ Magnetic Memories project explores the intimacy of home movies from the analogue era. The project began when Charlie accidentally rediscovered a horror film he made with a VHS camera when he was 14. Watching it again so much later roused conflicting feelings of warmth, nostalgia and mild self-loathing.
He began a trawl for other unique moments on videotape by offering to digitise other people’s footage for free — in exchange for permission to use the content to create new artworks. Via a social media campaign and word of mouth, fuzzy recollections began to appear on ageing cassettes...
Specific sequences are duplicated time and again onto other VHS tapes. Each generation of copying gradually saturates and softens the image, enhancing the sense of a distant memory. Eventually a frame is chosen for a six-layer screenprint on rich black paper.
A sister project — The Tape Head Series (pictured) — plays on the more technical aspects of video-recording and playback. Multiple layers of geometric drawings based on diagrams of VCRs are processed and assembled in ghostly photographic compositions. These become Hahnemühle prints which are hand-finished with a screen printed colour layer.