A South Korean man in his 30s won an annual competition for being the best at doing absolutely nothing.
Kim Myeong-yeop became the new reigning champion of the “2022 Han River Space-Out Competition” at Jamsugyo Bridge in Seoul on Sept. 18.
The man told Korea JoongAng Daily that his secret to winning the 90-minute competition was imagining himself watching a baseball game with the Hanwha Eagles, a team ridiculed by Korean baseball fans for being the lowest ranked among domestic baseball leagues.
“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,” Kim said.
Competitors were required to sit on the ground and completely space out. Participants were not allowed to do anything, including speaking, laughing, falling asleep or using technology. Contestants’ heart rates were checked every 15 minutes, with the most stable heart rate after 90 minutes being crowned the champion. Water and bathroom breaks were permitted, as long as a card was held up to make a request.
Students, small business owners, police officers and local celebrities made up the more than 3,800 people that participated this year.
The first Space-Out Competition took place in 2014 and was created by visual artist WoopsYang, who told Vice in 2016 that the contest was designed to see how much of a break people needed after being burned out by overwork.
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"I was suffering from burnout syndrome at the time, but would feel extremely anxious if I was sitting around doing nothing, not being productive in one way or another," she said. “I thought to myself, we would all feel better about doing nothing if we did nothing together as a group."
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