The event, titled Music of the Cosmos, will air on October 19th at 10:00 p.m. ET following the finale of Lovecraft Country on October 18th on HBO. It marks the conclusion to Lovecraft Country: Sanctum, a promotional series of VR experiences designed for the Oculus Quest headset and centered around transporting viewers into the world of Lovecraft Country.
Music of the Cosmos will feature an interactive virtual environment that can be manipulated by Monáe’s physical performance via her avatar. Ahead of her set, guests can participate in a preshow, hosted by Lovecraft Country‘s Michael Kenneth Williams, where artifacts from the show can be viewed in a virtual room known as the Reliquary. Guests can also interact with each other via the social VR platform VRChat.
VR director Aline Ridolfi further explained in a press release: “Using techniques like projection mapping and dynamic, interactive set design, the concert will see Janelle control the space with her performance. All aspects of the environment from the choreography and set design, to the lighting, will interact in a way that wouldn’t be possible within a traditional concert set-up.”
For those who can’t access the VR experience, Music of the Cosmos will be livestreamed on YouTube with another interactive element: YouTube viewers will be tasked with solving riddles in real-time, triggering spells that will directly impact the show.
“I’m so excited to partner with HBO and the Mill to pioneer the future of concert experiences in Sanctum,” Monáe said in a release. “I always strive for innovation, and this project gives me the special opportunity to celebrate Lovecraft Country, a show I’m a huge fan of, and connect with fans in a completely new way using virtual reality. This is the perfect platform to explore the impact of music and movement in a new dimension designed to celebrate black art, stories, and voices.”
“As long-standing fans we couldn’t be more thrilled to be partnering with Janelle Monáe on this uniquely immersive virtual reality concert experience,” HBO’s VP of program marketing Dana Flax added. “Through her art and her activism, Janelle embodies the spirit of innovation, justice and black joy that makes her the perfect artist to help us send off Lovecraft Country’s first season.”