Episodes / Ep. 397 - Simone Engelen

397. Simone Engelen


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Simone Engelen is a Dutch artist

Episode 397: It is not often that I record an episode with so much at stake. As artists, we tend to filter the world through our art process. Sometimes, that process is quiet and deals with the world as is, and sometimes, as in the case of Simone, it deals with very intense personal trauma. In sharing that trauma, we create strength based on harrowing experiences. Simone Engelen‘s story that led to her forthcoming book 27 Drafts is one of these books that deals with inner trauma.

In Simone’s case, that trauma resulted from a sexual assault that occurred in America during her high school year abroad in Northern California. The event took place years ago, and Simone has been on an arduous journey to come to the point of reconciling herself to the traumatic ordeal. To process the ordeal, she flew back to America with her mother, and the pair embarked on a road trip back to the town where the assault took place. The results are at times bleak and harrowing when you know the context of the work. There is a forensic, almost stalker like eye in the imagery flips the gaze from victim to one that exhibits control. I am reminded of cinema when I look at the work more than photography.

The title refers to the numerous times that Simone has tried to write her thoughts down regarding the trauma she experienced. It is a powerful book and will certainly enter onto my list of picks for the end of the year. Simone’s voice is strong and necessary.

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Music: Algiers, with their full permission
Editing: Adam Mead
Photograph Credits: Simone Engelen
Executive Producer: Brad Feuerhelm

Rights are reserved for Nearest Truth. No copies of this content are permitted without express permission from Brad Feuerhelm.

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