100 sandstone columns leading from Israel into Egypt.Dani Karavan’s Way of Peace (1996–2000), 100 sandstone columns leading from Nitzana into Egypt. Photograph by Neil Folberg
Many of us live our lives at the computer screen—here we are, in fact—and that can get us quite a distance. But our time spent in the blue glare gives us, perhaps, a new kind of appreciation for encounters that are straight up and live, unmediated: that is, for experiences in the world.
Dani Karavan’s magnificent site-specific sculpture Way of Peace (1996–2000) can of course be admired with the help of the Internet, but to experience it in reality is something else entirely. The work consists of a hundred sand-colored columns, running from the hills of Nitzana in the Western Negev Desert to the Israeli-Egyptian border—about three kilometers. Each column is inscribed with the word peace in a different language, representing all the peoples who have traveled through or lived in this area through the course of history. If you are lucky enough to be here—with your feet in the sand and the warm air in your mouth—as the sun sets in the wild desert sky, you will see the shadows cast by the columns, running far into the distance. The engagement with place, time, and history here is intense, even electrifying. Straight up and live. It is for this kind of experience that we travel.