Unzen Hole

Text: Mantis Kane

Illustration: David Foldvari

The wellbeing industry is on the very precipice of its own remit. A new invention is being marketed as a ‘time-out’ from the usual methodology – the yoga, the meditation, the activated sprouts – with a contrarian approach that subjects the user to a burst of extreme stress.






The UnZen Hole is a walk-in-head-chamber that encases the user from the neck upwards. Once in, an assault of the senses is activated. Firstly, a noxious blast of ammonium disorientates. Then comes a kaleidoscope of contrasting visuals: kids television, terrorist footage, The Queen’s speech and German 1980’s soft porn are shuttered schizophrenically. The soundtrack is a dyslexic barrage of Dutch gabba, Christmas carols and ascending monkeys mating calls – crescendoing with ear curdling white noise.


The programme lasts one minute, in which time stress hormones sky rocket to near fatal levels. Once over, the user enters into a relief state. Saturated in endorphins and adrenaline, the effect of surviving a near death experience stabilises in a waterfall of serenity.


Installation of your very own UnZen Hole will be subsidised by local governments. There’s also plans for decommissioned telephone booths to be converted into public UnZen Holes – small community de-stressing portals.