22:22 tells the story of Tom Sietas, who in 2012 set a world record at that time of twenty-two minutes and twenty-two seconds in Static Apnea, the ability to hold one’s breath underwater.
Through evocative underwater photography, Charlotte Ginborg’s film follows the rising tension of a record attempt interweaved with a contemporary dance performed to a live piano score by Gabriel Prokofiev and choreography by Kirill Burlov. The film combines documentary and fiction to reveal what drives Tom to push his body to physical extremes. 22:22 paints a vivid portrait of a man who has developed an extraordinary ability to control his body to access a unique psychological state. For Tom, to deny breath is to find life.
The work is a meditation on the desire to challenge the boundaries of what is physically and mentally possible to escape everyday constraints. Cocooned in water, the film captures Tom in an elemental state, a physical and psychological ‘body’ seen refracted through the camera’s lens. Cutting between a stark urban warehouse and the depths of a German lake, the addition and denial of light enhance both the cinematic and the metaphorical qualities of the work.