When he was commissioned to create an artwork in the Museo di Santa Giulia (as part of the exhibition Novecento mai visto, staged by the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection in Brescia 2013) Luca Trevisani quickly concentrated on the Domus Ortaglia part of the complex. In particular, the artist was fascinated by the mosaic floors of Roman city houses dating from the 1st to the 4th century AD. His artwork Die Befindlichkeit des Landes [The mental state of the land], 2013, which aims to allow people to experience the location in a new way both physically and mentally, therefore uses the abstract patterns found in the mosaics of the Domus Ortaglia – reconstructed to scale by the Italian artist in the form of wood models – as its basic forms. Trevisani juxtaposes these maquettes with living snakes – pythons and boas – whose patterns are based on the original colouration of the flooring. Trevisani deploys the snakes simultaneously in a symbolic and in an instrumental way – the creatures make the shapes accessible, centimetre by centimetre. As they enliven and fully explore the wooden lattice, their smooth forms contrast with its angular form. Additionally, the title, which references a song by the German music group ‘Einstürzende Neubauten’, reveals the political dimension in Trevisani’s work: it is a criticism of the zeitgeist or spirit of the times and of the way Italy’s cultural heritage is currently being treated.