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Quarantine focuses on the beauty and the physicality of pure movement. 

The performer’s physicality and musculature through repeated movement contorts and twists both her body and psyche into extremes, challenging our perception of pain, pleasure, endurance and torture.


The sound score, created by Chris Watson of Cabaret Voltaire, is sourced from a stereophonic stethoscope used to record sound from inside Iona’s body. This is mixed with guttural sounds, physical exertion and body impact. Breaths, heartbeats and tendons provide a rich tapestry, drawing us deeper into motion, rhythm, time and space.

Iona repeats motion to the point where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. It takes on an abstract sense. This is an exploration of screen time and space, motion and surface – an immersive effect on those present, as they are drawn into the shifting image textures, movement, and into Iona’s psyche.


The film is intended to create a very physical sensation for the viewer. Quarantine presents a seemingly simple single take film to take you on a complex and confronting journey from the physical into the psychological.

We lose ourselves in the pure intimacy and connection with our own, and other bodies, rhythm and movement.  We enjoy watching, moments of loss of self-consciousness, moments of sublime pure ecstasy, or witnessing the induced trance state through physical exertion.


The word ‘quarantine’ comes from the Italian word quaranta giorni, meaning forty days. It seems that this timeframe of compulsory isolation was not based on the biological understanding of the spread of disease, but was, it seems, purely an ancient method of measuring and metering out each passing solar year.

Some believe that ancient information was the basis for the number forty becoming sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims and is why the forty day period crops up in so many belief systems and cultural practices. 

Whilst this calendar system died out, there was lasting superstitious regard for this particular span of time. The planet Venus forms a pentagram in the night sky every eight years, returning to its original point every forty years with a forty day regression.

Generally, forty days is the time needed for transition and spiritual preparation. It can represent the time for preparation of a believer for repentance, to attain purity, transformation or enlightenment. The number forty is sacred as the length of time it takes for the spirit to leave the body and move on in Buddhism. In areas of Russia, forty days is the length of time ghosts are said to remain at the site of their death. 

Quarantine. 40min video for screening or installation (2011)

Collaborators & Contributors 


Performer: Iona Kewney

Sound: Chris Watson

Co-Producers: Forma Art and Media

Project Management / Artist Assistant: Sam Meech 

DOP: Terry Flaxton  

Camera Assistant: Alex Byng  

Production Runner: Rachel Tracey 

Grip and Lighting: EyeLights Ltd   Equipment: Four Corners

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