about kenosha


I grew up in Kenosha, a small city in southeastern Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Michigan. Kenosha treated me well; in a lot of ways it was a nice place to grow up. When I began working as an artist/filmmaker, it seemed like a good idea to name my business after Kenosha - I might be the 3rd coming of famous Kenosha filmmakers (after Orson Welles and Jack Smith), or I might fail spectacularly and need to come back home and live with my parents - either way the name would fit. As it happens, I did end up spending some time living at home over the years, but it never felt like failure. If you find yourself in Kenosha, please visit Tenuta’s, Franks, Mars Cheese Castle, and also the lake - I promise it is just as moody and beautiful as ever.

Like most places in the United States, the brutality of colonialism is also part of Kenosha’s history. The word ‘Kenosha’ is derived from the Potawatomi word for pike (fish). Potawatomi people in the area were forcibly removed from their ancestral lands by the U.S. government between 1835 and 1838. Some of their descendants include members of the Forest County Potawatomi in Wisconsin, Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Kansas, and Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Oklahoma. If you are interested in learning more, Robin Wall Kimmerer - a botanist and writer I admire who is also a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation - has written movingly about that displacement as well as many other aspects of Potawatomi culture and the ways traditional understandings inform her science practice in her book, Braiding Sweetgrass.

I now live and work in Seattle, Washington on the ancestral lands of the Duwamish people, and honor with gratitude the land itself as well as the Duwamish Tribe, past and present.

- Britta Johnson