John Freyer brings his Free Hot Coffee bike to London

John Freyer with red coffee bike

John Freyer and his bright red coffee bike are a familiar sight around VCU’s campus.

The assistant professor in the Department of Photography + Film has been using the free pour-over coffee—as well as jars of ice water and community suppers—to strike up conversations about addiction recovery. All three are components of Freyer’s Fifty/Fifty project.

This week, Freyer is pedaling around London, bringing his coffee and conversation to the Tate Modern as the first U.S.-based Tate Exchange Associate. The exchange program explores how art makes a difference to society and creates a common space for the public to debate contemporary topics and ideas.

Freyer recently spoke to the Richmond Times-Dispatch about his weeklong residency.

The bike is a thing of beauty: the body is cherry-red; the coffee cart is laser-etched with “Free Hot Coffee” and topped with solar panels and a battery.

Free Hot Coffee requires interaction. Making a cup of coffee at the bike takes five to 10 minutes. The bike is equipped with blue enamel cups instead of to-go cups. It’s a cup of coffee that might be free, but it requires a time commitment.

“The bike was built to create a space for people to be in conversation,” Freyer said. “It gets rid of the stigma of what a person in recovery looks like. They look like everyone else.”

2017-18 VCUarts/Tate Exchange residency: John Freyer

Read the full story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Image: John Freyer with his coffee bike. Credit Shelby Lum for the Richmond Times-Dispatch.


June 25, 2018