The “2018 Space-out Competition” took place at Yeouido Han River Park on Sunday, under the pitch “Let your exhausted brain relax for a while.”
Despite the rainy weather on Sunday morning, about 150 contenders seen in the park stayed blank-faced for 90 minutes without talking, sleeping, eating or checking their phones. The contest rule is simple, a person who maintained the most stable heartbeat rate becomes the winner.
(Shot and edited by Park Ju-young / The Korea Herald)
The event aims to help people overcome their anxiousness of doing nothing, according to the organizer and performance artist Woopsyang.
“People living in a busy city can easily feel anxious when they are doing nothing,” Woopsyang said. “By gathering people who do nothing and space out, I thought people would not be anxious anymore.”
After the huge success of the first competition, which was held in Oct. 2014 in Seoul, a series of the contests took place in Beijing, Taipei, Hong Kong, Rotterdam and Suwon from 2015 to 2017 as well.
The number of contenders also increased from 70 to 150 in 2018, and over 2700 people applied to take part in the contest. The participants were selected by various ages and occupations, the organizer said.
“I frequently zone out during class in school,” an 18-year-old high school student Lee Se-chan said. “When I first found the event on Facebook, I thought ‘That’s it!’”
Besides Lee, the jobs of contenders varied from housewife to politician. Participants who donned their uniforms were also spotted in the event, including a doctor in his white gown and a magician in a black suit.
“I’m delivering parcels for 15 to 20 hours every day. I hope my brain can have a rest today,” a 28-year-old Kim Duck-kwan said. “Before I moved to this logistics service company, I was fired from previous jobs for zoning out too much. I think I will be today’s winner.”
After 40 minutes the event started, contenders started to drop out from the competition.
“I participated in this contest to free myself from the fierce competitiveness and relieve stress,” Choi Ji-in, who dropped out early, said. “Ironically, I found I’m putting too much effort during the event, so I gave up.”
The trophy went to 14-year-old middle school student Yang Hee-won.
“A teacher once corrected me for spacing out during class. I’m so happy today that I found what I’m good at (through the competition),” Yang said.
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