Nashville Tree Project

Anthony Heinz May
Axes of the Meliad, 2022
Centennial Park
Located by the Parthenon


Greek mythology of Ash trees originate with the Meliae. Nymphs associated with Ash (and perhaps even all trees) the Meliae were formed by droplets of blood that spattered Gaia/Earth upon Cronos’ Castration of his father Uranus. This rather morbid and perverse story is surpassed by human perversion and exhaustion of Earth for its resources, leaving destruction and fragmentation of nature in its wake. Wordplay in this title refers to axes as a plural form of axis opposed to axes otherwise read as tools used to chop trees/wood. Axes are those invisible lines that produce grids to overlap the real, physical world in the sieving of nature.

Integrating Greek myths of the Meliae in parallel to the reconstructed Parthenon illustrates and exemplifies complexity of simulacra. Parthenon of the Acropolis in Greece represents the golden ratio found in nature, replicating highest order and pattern


of Earth through architecture. A reconstructed Parthenon furthers a form of artifice twice removed from nature, compounding a continuum of simulacra over time, across history. As humans further sever their ties and connections with nature they get closer to the artificial and further away from nature and reality.

European Ash is known scientifically as Fraxinus Ornus or the Flowering (Manna) Ash which differs from American Ash species. Nonetheless Greek mythology provides birth of collective Ash historically as through the Meliae. Existence and demise of Ash trees by the Emerald Ash Borer creates parallelism between past/present, myth/reality and death/existence. The present dilemma where digital facsimiles of the real have become more important than the physical world, the dying Ash tree appears as if a technological glitch in dissolve of nature from reality.