‘Doing nothing’ as a sport. It may sound bizarre, but then again, it makes sense. It began with South Korean artist WoopsYang in 2014, when he experienced a lot of stress at work and wanted a way to unwind.

He went to a park for some peace and quiet, but was distracted by his phone and many other things. He felt guilty about not being at work. South Korea has one of the highest numbers of people suffering burn-outs and phone addictions.

When WoopsYang spoke to his friends about it, he realised quickly that he wasn’t alone with his anxiety. They soon decided to go to the park together, putting away their phones. The challenge was quickly set: Who can keep this up the longest?

That’s how the competition was born. Nowadays, around 2000 people apply to participate, but only a handful is selected. The goal is simple: do nothing for 90 minutes. No talking, sleeping, checking your phone, nothing at all. Simply relax and do nothing.

The competition starts with a few physical exercises, then the silence hits. Every participant wears a heart rate monitor. The winner is the person who lasted the longest while maintaining the most stabile heart rate. In other words, those who was the calmest for the whole time.

Wedstrijd in Zuid-Korea: Niets doen

The Space Out Competition takes place annually at the end of May.


This unique competition is held in Ichon Hangang Park in the capital, Seoul.