To all the bastards, all the centaurs, all the mermaids, to all the heterogeneous, mixed, crossed and blended beings who have always been told that they have ‘no identity’ or ‘too many identities’, it is high time to assert your right to exist.
Gabrielle Halpern holds a doctorate in philosophy and is a graduate of the École Normale Supérieure. She has worked in various ministerial cabinets (Ministry of the Economy and Finance, Ministry of Research and Higher Education, Ministry of Justice) as a "Foresight and speech-writing" advisor, before helping with the development of start-ups and advising companies and public institutions. She is also an associate consultant at the Jean Jaurès Foundation and directs the "Hybridisations" series that she created at Editions de l'Aube.
Her research work focuses in particular on the notion of hybridisation, which was the subject of her doctoral thesis, defended at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in 2019.
She is the author of the popular essay "Tous centaures! Éloge de l'hybridation" (Le Pommier, 2020), the comic strip illustrated by Didier Petetin: "La Fable du centaure" (Humensciences, 2022), the essay co-written with Guillaume Gomez: "Philosopher et cuisiner: un mélange exquis - Le Chef et la Philosophe" (Editions de l'Aube) and the essay "Penser l'hospitalité - L'artisan-hôtelier et la Philosophe", co-authored with Cyril Aouizerate (Editions de l'Aube, 2022). She is a regular contributor to the press, through columns, articles and interviews.
Today, as part of her research, she explores the notion of hybridisation in many sectors, professions and fields of activity and works with companies, associations, local authorities, schools and public institutions.
Let's combine retirement homes, coworking facilities and start-up incubators! Let's hybridise shopping centres, gyms and arts and crafts studios!
Let's cross-breed train stations, museums, artist residences, youth hostels and vegetable gardens! Elias Canetti, one of the greatest intellectuals of the 20th century, said that since "life is an eternal shrinking", there is only one way to resist it, by "throwing your anchor as far as possible" towards what is radically different from yourself.
Let’s all be centaurs!
A celebration of hybridisation
This essay analyses a major trend in the coming world, namely hybridisation. Hybridisation is defined as 'the unlikely union', i.e. the bringing together of things, sectors, products or services, activities, professions, people, cultures, uses, skills, materials, generations, etc., which, at first sight, had little to do with each other, or which could seem contradictory, and which, when brought together, will give rise to third uses, third places, third objects, third materials, third cultures, third models... new worlds, in short! There are many weak signals that hybridisation could well become the great trend of the world to come, but this trend calls many things into question and requires us to break out of the existing boxes. Nothing escapes it: objects, territories, materials, products and services, consumer habits and marketing methods, agriculture, companies or public institutions, professions, buildings, ways of innovating and working, education, etc. We are witnessing the emergence of new combinations and re-combinations; we are entering an era of unlikely unions!
This creates a certain uneasiness in society, because things, situations and people that used to fit into our boxes no longer do, and all our definitions are shattered... Yet this hybridisation can also be the best engine for creativity and innovation! Yes, hybridisation is a real opportunity for human beings, for companies and public institutions and for society, - provided we learn to tame it...