Ûiiti ('the treatment') is an Android phone app created by artist duo Greenman Muleh Mbillo (Nairobi, Kenya) and Dani Ploeger (Vlissingen, Netherlands). The work is a high-tech iteration of the 'nzevu', a ritual instrument of the Kenyan Akamba tribe. It transforms your smartphone from a networking technology with complex modes of interaction into a technology of transcendence with a minimal user interface.
In July 2021, Mbillo and Ploeger visited a 'mundu mue' (healer) of the Akamba tribe near the town of Kibwezi. To reach a state of trance, the mundu mue played long sequences of repetitive motifs on the nzevu, a single string instrument that is only used in ritual practices. Hardly any documentation of this instrument can be found and no images seem to exist.
The user of the Ûiiti app is invited to enter an altered state of mind by endlessly operating three touch areas on the app’s interface, which trigger fragments of field recordings of the nzevu. The graphic user interface of Ûiiti intertwines symbols from indigenous and colonial traditions, including snake myths, concepts of cosmic balance, Christianity and Mithraic cults. While the app is active, all other apps are disabled and incoming messages, calls etc. are blocked.
Ûiiti has been commissioned by the House of Electronic Arts Basel
The app is available from the Google Play Store (please make sure to use correct spelling when searching: ‘Ûiiti’)
Read more about the background of the work here: www.disobedientdevices.org/tech-of-transcendence
And here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14794713.2022.2098931 (pay wall)