With the overload of information and continuous interaction with the world promoted by palm-sized screens attached to our hands nearly all day long, people nowadays allow too little time for their inner selves.
To avert people’s gazes away from smartphone screens and give their brains some break, Seoul City has been hosting the Space Out Contest annually since 2014. At this event, contestants compete their abilities to space out, doing nothing and thinking nothing.
For three hours of the contest, contestants are not allowed to talk, sleep or snooze, check the phone, eat, read, sing, dance, or laugh in order to win.
Because the contest proceeds in silence, contestants can use four color cards to request services related to three physical conditions – a red card for a shoulder massage, a yellow card for a fanning, a blue card for water, and a black card for all other concerns.
For a fair and objective evaluation of the “ability to space out,” staffs on site check heart rates of the contestants every 15 minutes. Awards go to the top three people who show the least ups and downs in their heart rates.
Last year, the trophy – which is made in shape of Rodin’s masterpiece, The Thinker – was awarded to a well-known musician, Crush.
“In the midst of busy schedule, I sought for something that can give me a break both physically and mentally,” said Crush in the interview with MBC’s variety show, I Live Alone. “I really wanted to rest and found out about this contest.”
This year’s event will be held at Mangwon Park near Han River on April 30.
By Heewon Kim