Ashton Treadway: Jos Claerbout was an extraordinary human being. I was privileged to work next to him for some months at WebTV, and to model a toessel upon his urging. His cube was always full of energy and vibrating with creativity.
Jos wasn't simply extraordinary. He remade reality; or, rather, reality refocused around him, with him at its center. This wasn't through any intention of his; it just was the way of things. Jos became the foreground when he entered a space, just by dint of his sheer exuberant energy. He didn't just do things. He embarked upon expeditions; he dispatched himself upon inquiries about anything and everything he found curious in the world. He lived, in the grandest sense.
And that's what's worst about a world without him. There's a sense of mass and direction lost, of lost opportunity. Of the things dreamed of and hoped for becoming ever so slightly more unattainable. With Jos in the world, it seemed easier to hold out hope for all of us. Surely this magical giant, this conglomeration of intellect and humor and pathos and striving, flaring genius, would make Everything All Right In The End.
A lot of us, more than I think would freely admit, were, before we met Jos, tracing and retracing paths we'd set years before. Perhaps some of us had accepted the cynical notion that things were as good as they would ever get, that the mysteries of childhood had given way before the mundane, spiritless day-to-day trudge. Jos changed that, permanently and irreversibly.
That was one of his great gifts, with which countered the cynicism, and the drudge, and the slog. That is one of his legacies, however pale and insubstantial an imitation of him it might be. Jos took nothing for granted, and nothing as written. He was infinitely possible, and inspired all those with whom he came into contact.
With great sorrow, great respect, and great thanks . . .