Rocking Chair Sessions // Wish Codex 

February 27, 2021 – March 27, 2021

First launched in 2017, Rocking Chair Sessions is a collaborative project by Maria Theresa Barbist and Elysa D. Batista. Their vision is to create “a publicly accessible forum where one could find individual recordings describing the professions, media, and life of South Florida based creatives.”  Up until now, the artists have successfully collected the oral stories of 150 professionals in the arts and uploaded them to Sound Cloud as a permanent database. They are accompanied by a polaroid portrait of interviewees seating in a Florida-style rocking chair. These conversations that Barbist and Batista have described to be somewhere in between an interview and an art therapy session, are a priceless introduction to Miami’s local art scene and attest to its richness and diversity.  

Rocking Chair Sessions // Wish Codex, their exhibition at the Coral Gables Museum, is an immersive installation where the previously-recorded material is used to create visual and sonorous collages. Expanding on the initial dialogs, the artists have asked their previous interviewees to submit short, visual “updates” to be incorporated into the mix. The result is an artistic rendering of Miami’s cultural community.

This project is made possible with the support of The Ellies, Miami’s visual arts awards, presented by Oolite Arts.

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Photo courtesy of BABA Collective

 Photo courtesy of Sharif Slimting

About the Creators 

Maria Theresa Barbist is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on sculpture, performance and film. Born in 1979 in Schwaz, she worked as a psychologist and psychotherapist in Austria before relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area to study movement-based art therapy. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute where she received an MFA in New Genres. She lives and works in Miami, FL.

Elysa D. Batista is a mixed media artist who works with language, specifically the multiplicity of meaning according to different contexts. Her three-dimensional work explores personal experiences with dynamics in power structures and nationality and is interpreted through the use of semiotics. Born in Panama City, Panama, Batista received her BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Miami (2009) and her MFA from Parsons the New School of Design (2013).