A journey to the grey zone

Simon Stranger
A journey to the grey zone


It’s within me. It’s within you. It’s in the white lies we tell ourselves, in our shifts and alterations and in our constant need for oblivion.

It’s woven into the fabric of the t-shirts we wear, melted into the rubber soles of our shoes, and sewn like a stuttering morse code in the seams of our pants. It’s in the shimmering minerals of our smartphones and computers. It’s in our alarm clocks, coffee cups and cars. It’s in the blind eye we turn despite knowing that the workers who create the entire scenography for life in the West are exploited, underpaid, overworked and always disposable.

It’s in the silent river of sentiments and words that flow through time, from mouth to ear. The words that seep into our minds, from articles, books and discussions, slowly melting into our beliefs, that gradually assemble our feelings and convictions, our resentments and longings to produce the flickering mirage we call our selves.

It’s embedded in the familiar excuse: if I had not done it, someone else would have.

It’s in the footsteps on the floorboards in the commander's house, and the clinking of milk bottles a farmer sold to the Falstad prison camp to earn money.

It’s in the swishing sound of banknotes changing hands, the accumulated wealth of the companies that profited from the war, through construction, industry and shipping.

It lies in the seducing division between «us» and «them».

It’s in the justification of violence, in the classifications of races and in the ideas of supremacy, of danger, and the war between races.

It’s in the weapons we produce and sell to make the world a better place.

It’s in the way we treat refugees according to the color of their skin: Milder and with heartfelt warmth if they are white europeans, and with ignorance or skepticism if their skin is black, like the color of African refugees, drowning by the dozens in the Mediterranean sea.

It’s in the conspiracy theories, and in the seductive speeches of politicians. It’s in the spreading of lies, and in the willingness to start wars, to cause unrest and pour fuel on the smouldering fires of public discontent..

It’s in me. It’s in you. It’s in the white lies we tell ourselves, the tiny alterations and the constant need for oblivion.

  • Project management Ana Zibelnik (Paradox), Ingeborg Hjorth (Falstad Centre)
  • Creative direction Bas Vroege
  • Texts and podcasts: Simon Stranger
  • Voice Simon Stranger, Bendik Østbye Johannessen
  • Studio Nordubb AS
  • Sound design Darius Timmer
  • Animation Floris Deerenberg
  • Web Design Daniël Sante, Marko Damiš
  • Web Development Marko Damiš
About the artist

Simon Stranger (b. 1976) is a Norwegian writer. He has written 18 books, is translated to 29 languages and was nominated for The Nordic Literary Award in 2015. His most read book is the Holocaust-novel Keep Saying Their Names (“Leksikon om lys og mørke”) from 2018, which takes place at Falstad and in Trondheim. The book won the Norwegian Booksellers Prize, The Riksmålsprisen and was voted one of the hundred best Norwegian novels of all time. Stranger lives and writes in Norway.