SEAN CONNELLY (b. HAWAI‘I)
Learning From Lē‘ahi
Koa Gallery, Kapi‘olani Community College
September 2021 - Dec 2021
Material: Wood, Vinyl, Film, Plaster, Earth Matter
Learning from Lē‘ahi is a solo exhibition about architecture and urbanism relating to the United States and its militarization of ‘Āina (land, that which feeds). The project looks under the hood of so-called American History and engages a 3D timeline to re-learn the history of U.S. Urbanism with Hawai‘i as its spine, told through a story about architecture. Approaching architecture as both a medium and process of militarization, the exhibition presents Honolulu as an overlooked trigger point in the controversy of U.S. Urbanism. Understanding the United States with Hawai‘i at the center (versus in the periphery) will reveal new methodologies for justice-advancing architecture. As a solo exhibition, Learning from Lē‘ahi doubled as a collaborative launch of an architectural organization, www.hawaiinonlinear.org, dedicated to create a second community for architecture in Hawai‘i. The exhibition itself features three sculptures and one video. The first sculpture a street sign, the second sculpture a 3D reenactment of a photograph on a famous book cover, an architecture model, and short film.
Go to Video
#1a. Tan Hawaiian: Billboard Reenactment, from the cover of Learning from Las Vegas 1972 (2021)
Digital image on vinyl, wooden structure. Adapted from the original cover photograph (courtesy Denise Scott Brown), with image enlarged 1:1 scale and rendered using 3D architectural modeling software. Printed in Brooklyn, NY and fabricated in Honolulu, HI.
#1b. Cover (2021)
Vinyl text. Featuring alternative exhibition titles with formatting adapted from the original vellum book cover featuring alternative titles for Learning from Las Vegas. Printed and fabricated in Honolulu, HI.
#1c. O‘ahu, A Giant Military Base, Map Detail, (2021)
Vinyl GIS map. Representing the backdrop for U.S. Urbanism, this giant wall map details a larger military mapping of O‘ahu completed by Sean Connelly in 2019. The detail map stretches from Lē‘ahi/Diamond Head to Pu‘uloa/Pearl Harbor, comprising layers of official government-driven datasets that include remote sensing LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) topographic information clipped to show former military sites, overlapping former Kānaka ‘Ōiwi fishponds that have since been filled (red), U.S. Coastal fortification systems network, and additional socio-political alignments supplemented with quotes. Printed and fabricated in Honolulu, HI with data sourced from government website information portals.
#2. All Architects Are Bad, 1898-2028 (2021)
Custom metal street sign. The phrase AAAB directly references the urban acronym ACAB (All Cops Are Bad/Bastards) used as a political slogan to oppose the police. Printed and fabricated in Moanalua, HI.
#3. I AM NOT A MONUMENT
Plaster cast from vacuum-formed plywood model CNC cut from Digital Elevation Model. The title is adapted from the infamous 1993 speech by Haunani Kay-Trask “We are Not American,” featuring a modified drawing of a billboard that reads “I Am a Monument” reproduced from Learning from Las Vegas. The miniature billboard is attached to a 3D architectural landscape model of Lē‘ahi that has been clipped by the historic outline of the former Diamond Head Military Reservation.Model formwork produced in Manhattan, NY with data sourced from government website information portals; cast in Kapahulu, HI
#4. Lē‘ahi / Diamond Head State Monument
Video, various. A time-released video series depicting artist-driven vantages of Lē‘ahi / Diamond Head. Videos released on a weekly basis as part of a conceptual HNL “sit-in” at Koa Gallery, Kapi‘olani CC, formerly Diamondhead Military Reservation. Filmed and produced in Honolulu, HI.
#5. Hawai‘i Nonlinear Organization
Social Practice. The show doubels as the launch of a local nonprofit focused on architecture, cofounded with Dominic Leong.
A special thanks to Koa Gallery Director Drew Broderick for his help and support with this project, and to Dominic Leong for his help on the organizational collaboration.