The Meaning of “VooGlue”

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When people first hear “VooGlue,” they often wonder aloud what the name means. “Sounds like a cross between Voodoo and glue,” is a common reaction.

VooGlue founder and CEO Brian Carew-Hopkins did in fact come up with the name as a combination of those two words. But since Voodoo has, like many ancient words, taken on a skewed meaning in popular culture (namely that of magical dolls with pins stuck in them to inflict pain on one’s enemies and the resurrection of the dead as zombies), it’s worth explaining Voodoo’s true meaning and how that fits together with VooGlue’s vision.

Voodoo is in fact a West African animist tradition that goes back at least a thousand years, with the current pop-culture component of it deriving much later from interaction with Haitian immigrants to the US. Benin is regarded as the birthplace of the Voodoo tradition, with the name itself simply meaning ‘spirit’ in the local Fon language.

What sets the real Voodoo apart in the modern context, however, is the way it survived in the face of the enslavement and cultural annihilation perpetrated in West Africa between the 16th and 19th centuries. At the time, Voodoo became a cultural “folkway”: a common understanding among local inhabitants that could not be destroyed by the European slave traders. Traditions and beliefs were passed down, often secretly, through the generations, surviving the invaders best efforts to obscure or eliminate them.

It is this reference to a truth that cannot be destroyed that makes Voodoo the perfect word to encapsulate what VooGlue accomplishes. Just as Voodoo was a way for a cultural truth to survive despite the efforts to destroy it, VooGlue enables the truth of an artwork’s origin, ownership, and meaning to survive no matter who possesses it and where it is located. This is accomplished with the use of a distributed public blockchain.

The “glue” in VooGlue refers to the permanent “gluing” of a multimedia counterpart to a physical artwork, again accomplished with mechanisms enabled by a distributed public blockchain. This multimedia counterpart could be anything from a time-lapse video of the art being produced, to a clip of the artist explaining the artwork. By permanently attaching this counterpart to an artwork, the artist’s true vision has a greater chance of surviving throughout the lifetime of the physical art, and even beyond.

Inspired by a culture that could not be destroyed, VooGlue’s mission is to ensure that art’s providence and meaning survive, and that the art world thrives for a new generation.

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