By Hanne Hagenaars

‘What if the stars were to slowly disappear from the heavens, one by one, and all that remained was blackness.’ – Robin

In the film essay To stay alive, a method, Iggy Pop, with his characteristic undertaker's voice, narrates texts from the French author, Michel Houellebecq. ‘Iggy Pop presents us with a blueprint on how to survive as idiosyncratic individual in this impersonal world’ wrote the Dutch television broadcasting company VPRO.
Houellebecq speaks on behalf of suffering: ‘Do not fear happiness, it does not exist’. In the film, four individuals talk about having failed in our society, at least, in the sense of having a job, a home, a family and a car at the front door. Psychologically distressed individuals, balancing on the edge of society. Two of them write poems, one paints and Houellebecq himself plays an artist who is tinkering with a mysterious installation in his cellar. Outcasts. Creative types. The film is an ode to these outcasts. It’s an ode to the imagination as a solution.

Robin and Mira, brother and sister, are also examples of people who almost fell by the wayside. But even if life doesn’t initially offer you many credits and seems more like a running track full of obstacles, it is still possible to find your strength and come out on top.

They both underwent long-term psychiatric treatment as young adults. They know the psychiatric ward inside out, having visited them regularly with their parents when they were still children. Nevertheless, they found their way back. Mira recently completed a study in Creative Handicrafts and she now wants to develop as an artist. In the future she hopes, with her art, to support people confronted with the problems she knows so well. Robin too is trying to help others by talking to them about his experiences. Robin didn't want to be recognizably photographed because this could cause him problems in his career. Van der Woude understands his choice, but is saddened that we live in a world in which this has to be taken into account and in which showing your vulnerable side is difficult. It's as though you are no longer allowed to appear 'weak'. This is, however, a relative concept, because who is stronger than a person who has managed to survive such an intense past?