Sguazziamo! (“Let’s splash!”) is a river ecology workshop developed in the context of Fare Acqua, the fourth edition of Traffic Festival, on the banks of the Cesano river, in the Marche region. The idea starts from the ancient game of “Pesca al contrario” (reverse fishing), in which the child in the centre impersonates a fish and, without using his sight, has to catch another participant. The other children form a circle around the fish and, using rods, place their baits. When the fish takes the bait, it ‘eats’ the fisherman and the roles are swapped.
Starting from this historical symbolic game, Barena Bianca develops a discourse on rivers and their inhabitants – fish and other organisms – by handcrafting masks that replicate the fish of local watercourses and baits that can be good or bad: through these, the children learn about the role of rivers and their inhabitants, and the role that local communities can play both positively and negatively. After carrying out the didactic and craft part of the workshop, the children are taken on an exploration of the ecosystem, finding a place to play this ‘reverse fishing’ game in harmony with the river.
The children thus become the fish of the river around which they live, and at the same time ecologists, farmers, scientists, politicians. Through this sort of role-play, they develop an emotional connection with the river, learning intuitively about the inevitable vital relationship between humans, non-humans and watercourses.
The workshop, conceived and developed on the banks of the Cesano river, can be replicated in any place crossed, surrounded or overlooking a body of water – rivers, lagoons, lakes or seas.