Known Unknown is a neon sign whose letters blink on and off to reveal the phrases "known known," "known unknown," "unknown unknown," and "unknown known." It is inspired by United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's response to a question at a U.S. Department of Defense news briefing in 2002: "...there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."
The sign also speaks to our cultural experience of time. We perceive time as a continuous progression from the known past to the unknown future, yet we often struggle to predict the future and forget the past.