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Super-Chill Rapper Wins South Korean Space Out Competition

YouTube // wikitree4you
YouTube // wikitree4you

Attention, loafers: There’s a new record to beat. Seoul-based rapper Shin Hyo-Seob, also known as Crush, has taken the gold medal in this year’s Space Out Competition.

The contest consists of 90 minutes of sitting and zoning out, with no phones, computers, tablets, or other distractions—and no sleeping, either. Entrants work hard to do nothing, drinking tea and receiving massages while medical staff monitor their heart rates to measure stress levels. A sportscaster with a microphone provides running commentary for the audience. Here's a video from the first-ever event:

It may seem absurd, but the Space Out Competition is both a work of social commentary and an attempt at remedying South Korea’s well-established stress epidemic.

Artist WoopsYang invented the contest in a period of intense stress in her own life two years ago. "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 told VICE.

It’s hard to sit around by yourself without feeling unproductive. But in a group setting, doing nothing is a statement. “I thought to myself, ‘We would all feel better if we did nothing together as a group.’”

In addition to a dedicated break, the competition also serves as a work of interactive performance art. Busy people rushing through the park are confronted with a sea of strangers, all sitting quite still, completely un-fussed. "The best way to view this competition is from one of the surrounding tall buildings, looking down," WoopsYang said. "You'll be able to see a small patch of stillness amidst all the hectic movement."

This year’s competition in Seoul’s Ichon Hangang Park saw 70 competitors, including Crush, who told VICE he was determined to be the most intensely relaxed person there. “I practiced at home,” he said.

[h/t VICE]

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The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
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The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. While art lovers worried when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news. According to museum officials, the priceless works housed inside the famed Getty Center are said to be perfectly secure and won't need to be evacuated from the facility.

“The safest place for the art is right here at the Getty,” Ron Hartwig, the Getty’s vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 “to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region,” but as of now, the art inside is staying put.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's currently facing. The air throughout the gallery is filtered by a system that forces it out, rather than a filtration method which would bring air in. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading. The Getty Villa, a separate campus located in the Pacific Palisades off the Pacific Coast Highway, was also closed out of concern for air quality this week.

The museum is currently working with the police and fire departments in the area to determine the need for future closures and the evacuation of any personnel. So far, the fires have claimed more than 83,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and the temporary closure of I-405, which runs right alongside the Getty near Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood.

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This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
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It takes a lot of creativity to turn a blank canvas into an inspired work of art. Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes his pictures out of something that’s even more dull than a white page: an empty spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

When he retired, the 77-year-old Horiuchi, whose work was recently spotlighted by Great Big Story, decided he wanted to get into art. At the time, he was hesitant to spend money on painting supplies or even computer software, though, so he began experimenting with one of the programs that was already at his disposal.

Horiuchi's unique “painting” method shows that in the right hands, Excel’s graph-building features can be used to bring colorful landscapes to life. The tranquil ponds, dense forests, and blossoming flowers in his art are made by drawing shapes with the software's line tool, then adding shading with the bucket tool.

Since picking up the hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has been awarded multiple prizes for his creative work with Excel. Let that be inspiration for Microsoft loyalists who are still broken up about the death of Paint.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the artist's process in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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