Time. Transcendence. Performance. Proceedings.

Peer reviewed conference proceedings from the “Time. Transcendence. Performance” conference I attended at Monash University in 2009 have now been published online.  Follow this link to browse through a large selection of work from the event.  I contributed a paper investigating the lived experience of cross-country racing, questioning the different thought processes in an elite and a developing athlete in relation to ideas about flow.

Thank you to Ian Maxwell and other staff and students at the Department of Performance Studies, University of Sydney for their assistance while developing this work.  Thank you also to Russ Baker, Adam MacLeod and Michael Roennfeldt for allowing me to use their images. An abstract for the paper is below.

The Feel of Five Minutes

Kath Bicknell


Athletes grapple to accurately understand time in relation to a complex, interanimating matrix of variables: fitness, technologies, landscape, skill and, critically, their experience of states of flow. As fitness and skill improves, the experience of flow alters to create a sense of mastery of the sport. Using the example of mountain bike racing, this paper questions the human perception of time in relation to competition, flow and skillful, risky performance. Developing Drew Leder’s concepts of dysfunction and incorporation alongside John Hockey’s sensory analysis of sport and Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s characteristics of flow states, I will investigate the ways in which a rider develops skill and fitness in relation to the temporo-geographic demands of a target event. This will demonstrate the way that athletes develop a bodily knowledge of time and pace which is carefully matched with visual and auditory cues.