It is with profound sorrow that we say goodbye to Marco Antonio Castro Cosío, a visionary collaborator and a cherished friend of our research institute. In the realms of art, technology, and culture, certain individuals stand as key touchstones, bridging divides and opening doors. Marco was undeniably one such individual, and his loss will surely be felt across the sprawling communities that he was a part of.
We first had the honor of collaborating with Marco during his tenure at the Met Media Lab. A space of vibrant exploration and experimentation, the lab was a small but mighty community. I remember the first working lunch that we attended, we left thinking, how can we build a community like this within the halls of Pulitzer? But our understanding of his expansive vision started even before, with his pioneering work at the Queens Museum. There, and throughout his illustrious career, Marco demonstrated the extraordinary ability to weave together seemingly disparate threads into a harmonious tapestry of innovation.
Perhaps one of the most poignant illustrations of his approach to problem-solving and innovation was the Bus Roots project. More than just a fascinating concept, it was a heartfelt attempt to blend sustainability and community service, turning urban buses into mobile gardens, both beautifying the cityscape and nourishing its residents. Such projects showcased Marco’s unerring commitment to the larger good, proving that technology and art, when wedded together, can indeed create magic.
Food and its power to connect and educate were recurring themes in Marco’s work. From the immersive climate dinners at the Met and the Brown Institute to those held in distant San Francisco, he showcased how culinary experiences could serve as vehicles for greater understanding and connection. These dinners were more than mere meals; they were symphonies of shared knowledge, with Marco as the ever-gracious conductor.
To describe Marco as merely a collaborator would be an understatement. He was the connective tissue that bound us all, a constant glow of openness, warmth, and generosity. He never said no to requests for advice or to a new project idea. He was the epitome of an optimist. Something we can all borrow from. To work alongside him was to experience the best of what you want from a partner or a friend.
The void left by Marco’s passing is palpable, but we are resolute in our commitment to honor his legacy. We remember him not only for the projects he championed but for the quiet moments of understanding, the gentle guidance, and the unyielding belief in the power of collective endeavor. And of course, his smile.
As we mourn his loss, we also celebrate the gift that was Marco. Let his memory serve as a reminder of what’s possible when hearts, minds, and hands come together in the name of progress.
Marco was a man of unbounded generosity. So smart, so wise. He was a true inspiration to me, both personally and professionally. His creative work has an empathy, a depth of humanity, that is rare. He trusted in people, in their essential goodness and in their desire to do the right thing.
And Marco provided us with views of the right things.
I don’t recall ever feeling less than wonderful in his eyes. He supported people. He was a leader of the very highest order. I have honestly not met someone who could make you feel valued, heard, and cared for in quite the same way.
I am a better person for knowing Marco and hope that I never forget the lessons he taught me. His professional life was so vibrant, full of ideas to make the world better. He would routinely come by the Brown Institute, as a collaborator, as a trusted counsel, as a visionary.
Our dinner series is one of the most gratifying projects of my career — and they were pure Marco. Our work together fed people, in body and mind. They were deep science, artistic connection and overwhelming care for humankind.
I am now watching a livestream of his funeral — so many family and friends, in Mexico and abroad. Watching his family touch the casket, a final goodbye. This virtual goodbye makes his passing feel even more unbelievable. “New York, New York” and “Ode to Joy” close the funeral. They seem fitting.
Marco, I miss you already. Thank you for letting me spend even a little time with you.