Lauren Baker Battles the Elements at Burning Man

Visionary artist Lauren Baker fought through storms and floods to install her latest magnum opus – the spiritually significant Wisdom Totem collection at the recent storm-hit Burning Man Festival.

The site-specific installation is the culmination of a year’s planning. Two monumental installations, each standing ten metres tall, became the highlight of this year’s annual Burning Man in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, USA. Comprising of Unity and Lunar Totems, the installation shares the ethos of Stonehenge creating a space for sacred ceremonies and gatherings around the potent symbols.

Celebrated for her thought-provoking creations, Baker’s overall vision is to elevate collective global consciousness. The celestial sculptures, layered with symbolism, were created created as beacons of hope and unity. The pieces became a focal point for the gathering and a beacon to guide people after power failed at the festival.

This year’s Burning Man suffered from two waves of heavy rainfall which led to flooding, loss of power and rationing. Due to the impact of the first storm, installing the pieces required real grit and determination. After battling 45mph winds to install ‘Wisdom Totems’, when the second round of flooding came, Baker reported that “spirits were still high and people came together to support each other.”


Supported by Celtic Chaos, and with special thanks to Natural Symphony, the Wisdom Totems were found at the area described as 10+C on the playa, or dry lake bed at Burning Man. The totems are made locally in San Francisco from part recycled wood and part local renewable lumber wood from a sustainably sourced farmed forest in America. The wooden totems will evolve and be adapted to be exhibited for future Burning Man seasons.

Baker said, “The Burning Man spirit of radical self-reliance and community spirit showed itself more than ever. It turned from spiritual highs and hedonism to chaos and survival. But the community showed up with pure love, people shared food, shared RVs & lifted each other. It was beautiful. It was a humbling experience and a reminder to be grateful for simple things that we take for granted.

With most of the music stopping, the silence became an opportunity to appreciate the visual art even more. It was an honour to create the Wisdom Totems with sacred symbols. Many people told me that the light of the ten metre totems guided them home”.

Lunar Totem with a diamond heart centre, radiates an aura of peace and harmony. The moon symbolises reflection, intuition and our connection to the subconscious. The timeless Ankh at her core signifies lifeforce and fertility.

Unity Totem is the centrepiece which amalgamates both masculine and feminine energies. Adorned with the alchemical earth symbol, this central piece underscores the paramount importance of equilibrium and interconnectedness in a world that thrives on harmonious coexistence. At its base is the symbol for collaboration.

“I firmly believe that art possesses the remarkable capability to transcend and elevate the human spirit,” affirms Lauren Baker. The Wisdom Totems are intended to become beacons of hope and unity and continue the artist’s work in exploring human connection, metaphysics and the expansiveness of the universe.

What’s next? To commemorate the Burning Man totem collection, a momentous digital collectible awaits. An exclusive NFT Totem launch will be held at the prestigious Digital Art Fair in Hong Kong from 19-23 October 2023. This will be Lauren Baker’s first NFT and an exciting chance to gain digital artwork from the artist. In keeping with the Burning Man community ethos, a 1/1 totem NFT will be gifted in a raffle to the community. Look out for opportunities to get the ‘Lauren Baker whitelist art pass’.

See also: Mazzoleni at FRIEZE Masters Seoul 2023

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