Curators Series #12. A Lecture by Johanna Hedva as part of their Parrhesiades project Reading Is Yielding (8 Nov 2019 at DRAF, London)

They’re Really Close to My Body: 
A Hagiography of Nine Inch Nails and Their Resident Mystic Robin Finck

A Lecture by Johanna Hedva as part of their Parrhesiades project Reading Is Yielding

Hosted by DRAF in association with The White Review
Friday 8 November 2019
DRAF, 111 Great Titchfield Street, W1W 6RY

Book free tickets here (now sold out, waiting list only)

As part as the exhibition The Season of Cartesian Weeping curated by Hana Noorali and Lynton Talbot for DRAF’s Curators Series #12 (29 October – 8 December 2019) Johanna Hedva has been invited to present an entirely new performance which will be delivered for the first time at DRAF in London.

Johanna Hedva, said, “This lecture is from my book-in-progress, The Mess, which deals with the weird truth of how music was my first encounter with both masculinity and mysticism, and what a fucking mess that was. Encountering the mystical fury of Nine Inch Nails at age 10 was an encounter with everything I wanted the world to be: chaotic, feverish, ungovernable. After being a devoted fan for 25 years (yes, they are my favorite band), I still want the world to be like this. 

Robin Finck, NIN’s reclusive touring guitarist, became the first guide I had who pulled me toward becoming the genderqueer mystic I am today. Finck didn’t look like a man or a woman, and he was not quite even human. He fit no rock-star archetype I’d seen, but was something closer to a demon ghost who beckoned me through an inter-dimensional gate. Calling him a mystic is not at all explicit, and it’s taken me years to realize that this was the role he played in my life, that by watching him slip in and out of legibility, I was not necessarily watching an individual, but what was coming through that individual. The task of the hagiographer is to interpret what is unknow-able; this lecture is my attempt at his hagiography. 

Watching him play the guitar (and this is all we have; he only tours every few years, does not release solo work, and rarely gives interviews) taught me something integral about the body.The guitar is a body, in and of itself, and so you have to meet and understand it with yours. As with any lover, it requires that you invent and share a language together, which only the two of you speak. Because the body has to be simultaneously felt and exploded in mysticism, the first feeling that compelled me toward thinking about mysticism was how I felt in my own body. The feeling that dominated it, and still does, is that I wanted to live outside of it, without and beyond it. I didn’t know how to do this, or if it was even possible, but watching Robin Finck, continuously slipping out of the roles that the world tried to put him in, showed me a way.” 


111 Great Titchfield Street is accessible by wheelchair but unfortunately there is no disabled bathroom. 

The space has non-gender-specific toilet. 

Regrettably we do not have any parking on Great Titchfield Street, however car and taxi drop-offs are possible. 

This performance will contain videos that can potentially trigger seizures for people with photosensitive epilepsy. If this includes you and you want to attend, please let us know by emailing so we can adjust the program for you. 

This performance will be captioned. 

If you have an access requirement which we haven’t listed here, please do get in touch in advance of your visit. We will make our best endeavours to assist you. Please contact us in advance of your visit for more information at


Johanna Hedva is a Korean-American writer, artist, musician, and astrologer, who was raised in Los Angeles by a family of witches, and now lives in LA and Berlin. They are the author of the novel, On Hell (2018, Sator Press). Their work has been shown at The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, Performance Space New York, the LA Architecture and Design Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art on the Moon. Their fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Triple Canopy, The White Review, Black Warrior Review, and anthologized in GenderFail and Asian American Literary Review. Their essay “Sick Woman Theory,” published in 2016 in Mask, has been translated into six languages. Their album The Sun and the Moon was released in March 2019. Two of its tracks were played on the moon. In 2019, they’ve been touring Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House, a drone metal guitar and voice performance influenced by Korean shamanist ritual.


The Curators’ Series supports independent curators by commissioning research-based exhibitions. The series presents diverse fields of knowledge, methodologies and practices. Each year, DRAF invites an individual, duo or organisation to curate an original exhibition. This year, Hana Noorali and Lynton Talbot have been selected by DRAF for Curators’ Series #12.

Hana Noorali and Lynton Talbot work collaboratively with artists to produce text, exhibitions and live events. Together they have started non-profit galleries in both London and Berlin and have curated exhibitions in public institutions, project spaces and commercial galleries across London and internationally.

Hana Noorali co-founded RUN gallery in 2007, a non-profit project space and curatorial collective active until 2011. She curated Lisson Presents at Lisson Gallery, London and currently writes, produces and presents the ongoing podcast series Lisson ON AIR. In 2018 Hana edited a monograph on the work of artist and Benedictine Monk, Dom Sylvester Houédard. Its release coincided with an exhibition of his work at Lisson Gallery, New York that she co-curated with Matt O’Dell. Hana has been a Visiting Tutor at Goldsmiths University and Chelsea College of Arts.

Lynton Talbot is the founding director of Parrhesiades, a multi-platform project space for artists who work with language either written, spoken, or otherwise performed. Lynton also writes specifically with artists and for exhibitions as a form of curatorial practice. He holds academic posts at Chelsea College of Arts and Kings College London in their curatorial departments and works within Tate Public Programmes to deliver Museum Curating Now. He is also a sometime participant in OFFSHORE, an itinerant performance company and pedagogical structure, initiated by Cally Spooner in 2017.

  • Simone Weil (left) and Robin Finck (right). Robin Finck image copyright Jospeh Cultice, 1994.
    Simone Weil (left) and Robin Finck (right). Robin Finck image copyright Jospeh Cultice, 1994.