Seoul: Introducing the Annual ‘Space Out’ Competition in South Korea, a one-of-a-kind event held on Jamsu Bridge near Han River in Seoul. This highly anticipated contest invites participants to embrace the art of doing nothing. With around 70 individuals taking part this year, the competition revolves around a simple yet challenging task – maintaining an unwavering focus while staring off into space.
According to a report by The Korean Times, the Space-Out Competition is a captivating performance art spectacle that encourages urban residents to pause and indulge in idleness. This event aims to dispel the notion that zoning out is unproductive, going so far as to reward the most proficient space-out artist among the contenders.
During the competition, the atmosphere is devoid of smartphones, texting, and the frenetic rush of daily life. The participants, donning delightful costumes, are required to zone out for an uninterrupted 90 minutes. Their performance is assessed based on audience votes and the ability to sustain a calm and stable heart rate throughout the session.
The inception of this remarkable event can be credited to Woopsyang, a visionary Korean visual artist, who conceived the Space-Out Competition in 2014. Reflecting on her personal experience of burnout syndrome, she recognized the anxiety that arises when engaging in seemingly unproductive idleness. This realization led her to envision a collective pursuit of doing nothing. As Woopsyang explained in an interview with Vice, “If we could experience the joy of idleness together as a group, we would feel more content about engaging in it.”
To ensure the integrity of the contest, participants must remain seated without conversing, checking their phones, shifting positions, or succumbing to sleep. Every 15 minutes, their heart rates are monitored to confirm their state of relaxation. The victor of the competition is determined by the individual with the most consistently tranquil heart rate.
This distinctive event not only captivates South Korea but also sparks a global conversation about the significance of rest. Woopsyang believes that the Space-Out Competition contributes to a broader dialogue on the importance of taking breaks, highlighting the potential benefits that can be derived from embracing stillness and tranquillity in our lives.