HBO is promoting drama series "Lovecraft Country," which blends themes of supernatural horror and racial justice, with a series of virtual reality events that transport viewers into the unsettling world of the show.
For "Lovecraft Country Sanctum," the broadcaster has invited a group 100 influencers to experience three events, including immersive theater, escape rooms, art installations, puzzles and a live concert, via the Oculus Quest headset. The events will be simultaneously run on the social VR platform VRChat, which allows guests to talk and interact with each other in real time, and streamed to the public via YouTube Live. Viewers on the YouTube Live stream also will be able to interact in real-time, solving riddles to trigger spells that directly impact the experience.
The content includes voiceover performances by Jonathan Majors, Courtney B. Vance and Michael Kenneth Williams, art installations by David Alabo, Devan Shimoyama and Adeyemi Adegbesan; a theatrical performance inspired by the words of James Baldwin, and a VR concert given by a yet to be announced artist. The first "event," titled Garden of Eden, can be seen here.
Sanctum was developed in partnership with HBO by The Mill, whose team of artists, coders and strategists developed the experience during global lockdown.
“We created Sanctum as a space to expand the possibilities of what the future of theater, games, art installations, concerts, and live events can be,” Rama Allen, executive creative director at The Mill and lead creative on the "Sanctum" experience, said in a statement. “We sought to create a space in partnership with Black artists and voices that centers on the Black experience. We chose Social VR because it is the most transportive medium to lift us from the isolation of quarantine, to coexist in a rarefied location. This technology can erase geography to bring us together.”