At different parts of the year we are on the verge of departing, three brilliant people (a scientist, a filmmaker, a rapper) gave me a peek of their projects, two of which will certainly be completed in 2011. The scientist is Gerald Pollack, the filmmaker is Mark Jackson, the rapper is Michael Martinez.


Pollack is known for his groundbreaking book Cells, Gels and the Engines of Life and a new and strange concept concerning the properties of water (he contends that water has four phases, not three—solid, liquid, and vapor. The fourth phase is roughly between liquid and solid—gel-like water). Mark Jackson, a filmmaker who was raised in this part of the world but currently lives in New York City, recently collaborated with Jessica Dimmock on a video for Moby. And Michael Martinez is, of course, Onry Ozzborn, a veteran rapper who this year released a truly numinous work of hiphop art, Vessel, with Chicago-based producer Zavala (Dark Time Sunshine).

Pollack is working on a book that radically expands the role of water in our world of things and beings. It's no longer just in the background (water as a passive medium of life) but is weird and very active. He also believes that the complexity of the world can be reduced to basic and elegant chemical, physical, and biological processes. The book is at once clear and cosmic.

Mark Jackson's debut Without, which will premier at Slamdance 2011 (the film really should be in competition at Sundance—they really dropped the ball on that one), was shot on Whidbey Island and will be recognized as an erotic and philosophical masterpiece of our moment—sex advice apps, sextexting, internet dating. What Josh Feit at Publicola recently said about Joslyn Jensen's performance in the film (a young, lonely, bored, and pretty woman who is stuck in the woods with an old and ill man) is as much as I could ever say: "Ms. Jensen can turn watching the fishing channel, changing an old man’s Depends, and staring out the window at a deer into sexy powerful cinema."

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As for Michael Martinez, he is soon to drop Hold On For Dear Life, a dark and minimalist work of gothic hiphop. After Zavala's gorgeous and impressionistic beats for Dark Time Sunshine, Onry Ozzborn returns to the grey area, the city of thorns on which much of his solo work (and his work with Oldominion) is built. This is his world.

So, those my three for 2011.

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