Santiago is a multi-sensory virtual reality (VR) installation that explores the idea of escapism through psychedelic visuals and music. The experience revolves around a physical sculpture of Santiago, an ancient fish god, that transforms into a living, breathing musical instrument that can be played through touch. The music created by the player affects objects and visualizations in the virtual environment, giving each player the agency to shape his or her experience. The piece is built for the HTC Vive and uses Leap Motion technology, allowing users to move freely around the sculpture and physically interact with Santiago.
When players first step into the experience, they are greeted by Santiago, a thirteen-eyed fish god who is trapped in an eternal slumber. He is desperate to escape but can only be freed momentarily through the energy absorbed from a player’s touch. Their physical contact with the sculpture launches them into a multi-stage visual music experience with each scene representing a memory from Santiago’s past life. As the piece progresses, players travel through a forgotten underwater cave, a garden of equalizers, an extraterrestrial void, and more. In addition, each stage boasts a unique set of visual and auditory patterns; while touching Santiago’s eyes in the first scene results in changes to the lighting and musical notes being added to the soundtrack, the same action generates fireworks and euro trance tracks in the second scene.
Brenda Chen – Creative Director
Drew Okenfuss – Lead Programmer
Sagar Ramesh – Technical Artist
Allison Comrie – Effects Artist
Awu Chen – Interaction Designer
Yimin Zhang - Animator and Rigger
Erika Gomi – Texture Artist and Animator
Hannah Bosnian – Concept Artist and Animator
David Deedwania – Music and Sound Designer
Tammu Do – Concept Artist and Modeler
Blake Weber – Concept and Environment Artist