Pamela Golbin

Paris-based fashion curator and historian Pamela Golbin is trading old clothes for future chic: She has been conscripted by Google to curate what’s billed as the first artist-in-residency program to explore synergies between technology, art and fashion.

At the center of the project are the Jacquard by Google conductible yarns invented by Dr. Ivan Poupyrev in 2014, and perhaps best known for being incorporated into the Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket, designed for the urban cyclist. Unveiled in 2016 and commercialized a year later, it allows the wearer to control and connect to services such as music and maps with swipes and taps to touch-enabled areas on the wrist portion of the jacket’s sleeve.

In an interview, Golbin said the residency program is meant to explore possibilities in the broadest way possible, and the tech giant plans to put its best programmers and coders at the disposal of the artists.

Under the umbrella of Google Arts & Culture, the program began with an open call Monday, with a deadline of April 1. Three artists will be selected to conceive and create a work that explores connective textiles over a five-month residency. Google intends to showcase the final results at an event in Paris next October, online, and potentially at museums.

“The final step is to bring all of the innovations back to garments,” Golbin said, noting that selected artists would visit Japan, where traditional kimono looms are employed to weave the jacquard yarns.

Golbin had spent a quarter of a century at Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris, a museum housing one of the three largest public collections of dress and textiles worldwide. She resigned as chief curator of fashion and textiles at the end of last year to pursue new projects, as reported. “After 25 years of the past, I needed to create the future,” she said with a smile.

During her tenure at Les Arts Décoratifs, Golbin oversaw exhibitions on designers including Dries Van Noten, Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton, Madeleine Vionnet, Valentino, Balenciaga and Elsa Schiaparelli. More recently, she completed an executive education program at the Harvard Business School.

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