Cite as: Hillel Schwartz, The Abandon of Unlikelihood, lecture, ICI Berlin, 17 November 2014, video recording, mp4, 46:57 <>
17 Nov 2014

The Abandon of Unlikelihood

By Hillel Schwartz
Take the title in three ways: freedom or revel enabled by the presence of that which is nearly impossible; surrender of a sense of surprise, or the squelching of joy in surprise; anxiety or terror under the shadow of that which looms, unpredictable yet ostensibly imminent. These days it seems that we are all ‘risk managers’. The more we are called to the
 management of risk, the less we admit wandering, cognitive or cardiac, manic
or geomantic, pedagogic or chronotopic. Call it errancy, noise, or abandon, 
wandering at once entreats and neglects risk. What might we learn about ourselves and our ubiquitous ’emergencies’ by tracking the historical forces at work to suppress wandering?

Hillel Schwartz is a Holtzbrinck Fellow at the American Academy. An independent scholar with a Yale PhD, he has shaped national and international projects on sustainability. As co-founder of Sage Case Management (San Diego), he helps those confronted with urgent, complex medical issues. Also a poet, he has collaborated in translations of five books by the eminent Korean poets Ko Un and Kim Nam-jo. His own scholarly work includes The Culture of the Copy: Striking Likenesses, Unreasonable Facsimiles (1996) and Making Noise: From Babel to the Big Bang and Beyond (2011). His current research concerns the changing nature and notion of ’emergency’ since the late 18th century.


ICI Berlin
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An ICI Berlin event in collaboration with The American Academy in Berlin

Video in English

Format: mp4
Length: 00:46:57
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Rights: © ICI Berlin