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Burning Man announces theme for 2021 edition, Terra Incógnita

The announcement comes despite ongoing uncertainty about whether the gathering will take place this year or not

Burning Man has announced the theme for its 2021 edition, despite ongoing uncertainty about whether the gathering will take place this year or not.

In an update shared to The Burning Man Journal yesterday, 16th March, the events organisers announced this year’s theme: Terra Incógnita, which translates to mean “unknown land”. 

Following the cancellation of last year’s gathering at Black Rock City, Nevada, the team behind Burning Man have implemented a few initiatives to keep the fires burning. It launched its virtual events platform, Kindling, in May 2020, which was followed by the launch of its online Multiverse in September. In August, a documentary all about the art at Burning Man was also released.

In January this year, Burning Man's organisers said it is “impossible to say right now” if the flagship festival would go ahead this year. The 2021 theme’s focus on the unknown seems to tie in with the continued sense of uncertainty for the event, with organisers describing it 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.”

The update continues: “After a year without Black Rock City we’re all longing to reconnect – for a going home after all that staying home. Yet our enforced apartness has also served as a powerful reminder that the idea of home is just that – an idea – and not a particular place. Quarantine has led us to rethink the very meaning of place, and rid us of certain illusions about it – like the notion that our city was always there somehow, always a certain way, which was never true at all. It was always a figment of our collective imaginations, and fundamentally different each and every year.”

“It’s a time of great loss, but also of rare opportunity: a chance to reevaluate, reconnect, and return to our roots, to the values that brought us together in the first place... 

“Now more than ever, the work ahead is about more than Black Rock City.”

You can read the full update on The Burning Man Journal here.