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South Korea hosts 'Space Out' competition where participants literally do nothing

By Katelyn Cassandra Alvarez Published Sep 21, 2022 3:19 pm

Feeling completely burnt out at work? This competition might be just for you. 

The Associated Press reported that about 50 people in Seoul participated in the "2022 Han River Space-Out Competition" in a championship bid to do literally nothing. 

Thirty-year-old TV producer, Kim Myeong-yeop recently took the title of being the best man at doing nothing as he bagged the the top prize for spacing out in the competition on September 18, Sunday.

In an interview with a local Korean website, the winner said he imagined he was watching a "Hanwha game” referring to the professional baseball team Hanwha Eagles, which has been ranked low among domestic baseball leagues for over a decade.
“I’ve been a Hanwha fan for 10 years, so I just naturally zoned out [at this competition] like how I zone out at Hanwha games,” he said.

For 90 minutes, participants were expected to sit on their blue mats and just zone out. Every fifteen minutes, their heart rates were checked as it's one of the criteria for judging in the competition. 


Before the start of the competition, players were made to write the reasons behind their participation on a wall poster provided in the event.

Gestures and other activities such as talking, laughing, checking their phones, and even falling asleep were prohibited during the competition. Anyone seen doing those would be disqualified from the contest.

However, contestants were permitted to take water and bathroom breaks, provided they hold up a card to request these short breaks and were acknolwedged by the organizers.

To end the competition, the one with the most stable and steady heartbeat among the ten players chosen by the audience was crowned as the winner. 

Champion Kim Myeong-yeop expressed his gratitude to the competition as it gave participants the opportunity to relax and unwind.

"Spacing out is important because workers like me have to use a lot of brain power and think a lot and we have no time to rest," he told AP.

The winner also stated that he has done lots of zoning out over the past 10 years and it served as a preparation for him on this event. He added that he was also interested in participating in the competition again next year.

The first International Space-Out Competition was held on October 17, 2014 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korean artist WoopsYang originally designed the unique competition to let people enjoy a break after being overworked. 

In an interview with Vice in 2016, WoopsYang said: “I was suffering from burnout syndrome at the time, but would feel extremely anxious if I was sitting around doing nothing.” Realizing that many people are also struggling with burn out, she thought it would be “better about doing nothing” if it was done together as a group. 

The next Space-Out competition will be held at Silheung Gaetgol Festival in South Korea on September 24-25, 2022.