The sport of doing nothing: South Korea’s Space Out competition

The sport of doing nothing: South Korea’s Space Out competition

A few weeks ago in Seoul, South Korea, an unnatural congregation of people gathered in Ichon Hangang Park for Space Out competition. On any other day, this would have been normal if not for the stillness of the people doing nothing except “spacing out.” There would also have been an announcer somberly sportscasting on the side.

This is South Korea’s Space Out competition which asks participants to do exactly nothing. Though one may think it’s all easy to just sit for 90 minutes doing nothing, think again. Aside from spacing out, there is very little else you can do.

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Since the competition started two years ago, it has evolved with a panel of judges for Space Out competitors and employed strict rules. Ranging from no phones, no talking or laughing, no dozing off and no to checking your watch, all you can do is sit and space out. These are just some of the grounds for immediate disqualification.

If participants feel thirsty or they need to pee, they can raise cards which proctors check.

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Daydreaming can be a strategy to win the 90-minute competition. However, fantasies affecting your heartbeat can make you lose. The participants’ heartbeats are monitored at 15-minute intervals. The one with the most stable heartbeat wins the competition.

Shin Hyo-Seob, a local rapper who goes by Crush, was the champion in chilling out, Vice reports.

“I was really determined to win. I practiced at home.” Crush revealed.

WoopsYang, who created the competition in 2014, said she was suffering from burnout syndrome at the time, but was uneasy at her inactivity. That is why she started the competition.

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She also shares that there are more steps leading to the main event. There are qualifying rounds wherein she picks out the final 70 participants. During the main event, she also encourages participants to wear their office uniforms or daily wear. This is so the competition will look more like a microcosm of the society.

She already has brought it to Beijing where 80 contestants bested each other in chilling out. As for now, WoopsYang hopes to launch a worldwide Space Out competition.

Photo courtesy: Suc/Pixabay