Seven Metre Bar

Related to City Art
Installed from 20 October 2009 to 28 January 2010
Crowd of people gather in a laneway at night with various objects and lighting hung above their heads
Crowd of people gather in a laneway at night with various objects such as boats and car wheels and lighting hung above their heads, a large image is projected on a nearby wall.
Crowd of people gather in a laneway at night with various objects and lighting hung above their heads.

A bar for flotsam washed up in Underwood Street 7m above sea level highlighted inaction on climate change.

Artist: Adrian Mcgregor, Richard Goodwin, Russell Lowe
Curator: Steffen Lehmann
This artwork was temporary and is no longer at this location.

Artwork description

The Seven Metre Bar, hidden in an undercroft in Underwood Street near Circular Quay, sat at an elevation of 7m above sea level. This interactive installation highlighted inaction on climate change with a drinking bar built inside the detritus of our age of progress and rampant capitalism.

At an elevation of 7m the bar marked a reading of possible worst case sea level rise at the turn of the century. At 8m Underwood Street would be underwater with tidal surges and the flotsam and jetsam of our civilisation. This collaboration between an artist, architect/gamer and landscape architect combined the landscape of weather, an architecture of catastrophe and the technology of games.

Old cars, boats, building materials and other debris including a mannequin, were suspended from a walkway above this dark city laneway, as though tangled like seaweed at the edge of beaches.

The bar responded to visiting crowds and their collective inaction, with an interactive animation projected onto a wall showing people swimming – the more people in the bar, the more swimmers appeared. Participants were intended to see and feel the consequences of their inaction. Cocktails with names such as ‘Storm’ and ‘Green House Punch’ were served in jars or takeaway hot chip cups.

This installation was conceived as a reaction to our progressive drowning until at 75m depth, Sydney to the Blue Mountains would be swallowed for all time as the northern and southern polar ice caps disappear entirely.

“Today it was reported that the oceans are becoming more acidic. This is yet another in a series of markers on the road to irreversible damage of our environment. When the oceans reach a certain point in this cycle, all life within the water dies leading to death on such a large scale that the decaying biomass will create a future store of liquid oil equal to the stores we have burnt. The cycle is thus completed and we as humans may not survive. So do we raise the bar? Do we build a bar? Do we measure the bar?”

– Richard Goodwin, 2009



  1. A standard, expectation, or degree of requirement; a leader whose example sets a high bar for others.
  2. Something that impedes or prevents action or progress.
  3. A ridge, as of sand or gravel, or a shore or stream bed that is formed by the action of tides or currents.
  4. An arrow marking, as a stripe or band.
  5. A place of judgement; a tribunal.
  6. A counter at which drinks, especially alcoholic drinks, and sometimes food are served – bar is a synecdoche, a term denoting a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing.

Project team

  • Richard Goodwin – Artist
  • Adrian McGregor – Landscape Architect
  • Russell Lowe – Programmer

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