2021 Theme

2021 Theme

looking back at the great unknown

Dispatch 2021 Theme

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Live in the question.”

~ Rainer Maria Rilke

Burning Man’s 2021 theme, The Great Unknown, was framed as “an invitation to emerge from our collective isolation, to explore the unfamiliar contours of a changed world, and to reimagine ourselves, our community, and our culture in ways that might not have been possible before this period of plague and pause.”
– Stuart Mangrum, Director, Burning Man Philosophical Center

The Great Unknown needn’t be vast, or far away in the outer realms of our known experience; it can be right here. It’s a move within, and a step into a place apart. It’s the realm where we imagine and play, from which we bring forth dreams about what’s to come.

Some awakenings are small, others grandiose. All inspire awe.

As the year drew to a close, we emerged into the world in small, intimate ways — being creative close to home, reconnecting with ourselves, and making gentle forays back into community. The Great Unknown sat at the precipice, the first steps of beginning anew as we wake, emerge, gather our friends, and start again.


Dispatch 2021 Theme
Dispatch 2021 Theme


Thanks to your generosity, your curiosity, compassion and radical creativity, we — Burning Man Project — made it through another turbulent year. You kept us going in more ways than you’ll ever know.

Thank you.

Read on, intrepid Burner, for just a handful of stories shared from The Great Unknown — stars hand-picked from the vast expanse of the cosmos, each filled with wonders.

Read The Great Unknown theme announcement