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Sean Connelly

Sean Connelly (b.1984, O‘ahu, Oceania) is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia GSAPP and an artist-architect operating as an expert witness geomancer-mystic based in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Works include sculpture, land art, experimental cartography, new media, landscape, filmmaking.

Sean identifies as a ghost in the field—a queer, diasporic Pacific-Islander American white-passing person-of-color, local settler grandchild of immigrants raised in a culturally Hawaiian-Filipino-Portuguese family from Kalihi and He'eia.

He/They operates patiently and collaboratively in the outliers of the profession, collaborating with those willing to legitimately intervene and address the complexities of indigenous futures for Hawai‘i.

Sean’s accumulative work over the past decade has pioneered ideas in art, architecture, landscape, and design theory around Hawai‘i, the Pacific, and beyond. Their work strives to dismantle and replace architectures that oppress indigenous thinking and ways of knowing.

Sean incorporated AFTER OCEANIC (Projects for Architecture Landscape Infrastructure and Art) to represent his/their artistic social practice emerging to assist in the contemporary recovery of indigenous systems (e.g. moku, ahupua‘a) as the basis for an ecological revolution in architecture, landscape, and urbanism. After Oceanic’s combined work over the past decade promotes justice-advancing futures around the dynamics of indigenous geography today.

Studio-driven works include theoretical new-media open-access research anthology exhibited as “anti-essays” such as: Hawai‘i Futures (2010-), a virtual intervention on island urbanism; Africa-Pacific (2015-), an architectural theory of the Oceanic; Ala Wai Centennial Memorial Project (2017-2019), a hypothetical simulation of Waikīkī; Oahu 2450 (2019), the first forensic 3D mapping of the United States militarization on the Island of O‘ahu from 1898-Present. Together these works exhibited online have accumulated an analytic record of over 40,000 visits online. These works enable Sean’s mission to transform experience and broadcasts a novel architectural history and theory from the Pacific, from Hawai‘i. The intellectual output of this studio-driven research forms the basis of Sean’s creative body of curated works and collaborative client projects.

Curated works explore and exhibit issues of material (sky/ground), information (space/flow), reference (climate/energy), and time (phantasmal/holographic). Current installations include a prominent public sculpture at Thomas Square commissioned by the City and County of Honolulu Arts Commission (2021). Past installations include sculptures exhibited at ii Gallery, Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu Biennial at Foster Botanical Gardens, Luggage Store Gallery in San Francisco, and Akron Art Museum in Ohio.

Collaborative client works include donor-funded cultural plans for Native Hawaiian organizations focused on recovering indigenous food systems across the Hawaiian islands. Recently completed recovery plans involving expertise in architecture, landscape, real estate, and culture include a 1,600-acre recovery strategy (2021) for Mālama Loko Ea Foundation to restore a historic Hawaiian fishpond located in Haleiwa, Hawai‘i; and a 400-acre landscape plan (2019) for Hui Mālama i ke AlaʻŪlili funded by Kamehameha Schools. Auxiliary works include the first statewide cartographic analysis of child abuse and neglect from 1992-2017 in Hawai‘i for Consuelo Foundation (2019).

Supporting artist residencies have included NTUCCA Singapore with Ute Meta Bauer (2018) and Santa Fe Art Institute with Jaime Blosser (2016). Additionally, Sean attended Standing Rock (2016), and has previously marched for Black Lives Matters (2014), and various other LGBTQ causes and environmental activism (2006-onward).

Sean is a founding board member of Protect Our Ala Wai Watersheds (POAWW), a grassroots advocacy group that organized in 2019 and successfully sued the State of Hawai‘i to halt a United States Army Corps of Engineers proposal to build seven detention basins in the last remaining native portion of stream in Waikīkī. Sean has served as an expert witness in architecture for the State of Hawai‘i and is regarded as an authority in architecture, landscape, and planning.

Previous academic appointments have included Visiting Lecturer at School of Architecture and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Hawai‘i School of Architecture, and Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Sean has recently published the essays Ahupua‘a for Peace edited by Jaimey Hamilton Faris, and Our City as Ahupua‘a: For Justice-Advancing Futures edited by Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua, Craig Howes, Jonathan Kay Kamakawiwo‘ole Osorio, and Aiko Yamashiro, which follows the 2013 essay Urbanism as Island Living of the same edited series Value of Hawai‘i.

Sean holds a Doctorate in Architecture from the University of Hawai‘i and a Master’s in Design from Harvard University Graduate School of Design.


Course Semester Title Student Work Instructor Syllabus Requirements & Sequence Location & Time Session & Points Call No.
A4853‑17 Summer 2021
Advanced Architecture Tutorial
Arch leong connelly francesca doumet iris hong nanjia jiang su21 3
Arch leong connelly siye huang kan lin yunha choi su21 7
Dominic Leong, Sean Connelly
0 Points