Liverpool Biennial Fringe – Sept 6-9th.


Free Ice Water, Free Hot Coffee and Free Hot Supper are coming to The Brink in Liverpool, as part of the Liverpool Biennial Fringe.  Many thanks to Sally Tallant for putting me in touch with the amazing organization The Brink, which will host all three events.

Here is more information on each event.

The Brink
15-21 Parr Street, Liverpool, L1 4JN
T:  0151 703 0582

American Artist, John D. Freyer brings Fifty/Fifty, his collection of interdisciplinary, social practice art projects to the Liverpool Biennial Fringe.  Freyer will host three public events at The Brink;  FREE ICE WATER,  FREE HOT COFFEE, and FREE HOT SUPPER.  Freyer’s projects create a space for individuals, groups, and communities to have meaningful conversations about addiction and recovery.  All events are open to the public.  

FREE ICE WATER at 5pm on Tuesday September 6th, 2016 at The Brink

Free Ice Water is about conversation.  The project creates space for individuals, seated together in pairs, to have one on one, distraction-free, uninterrupted conversations about significant turning points in their lives.  At the end of each conversation participants share ice water from an aquamarine blue mason jar, add a token of the conversation to the jar, and sign and seal the lid.  At the heart of Free Ice Water is the humble American mason jar, transformed by social and community engagement into a vessel for conversation that is fragile, yet lasting.

FREE HOT COFFEE at 2pm on Wednesday September 7th, 2016 at The Brink

Free Hot Coffee is about connections.  The project revolves around a “Recovery Roast” coffee, a custom roasted coffee whose flavor profile is determined by local populations of men and women in long term recovery and their allies.  During this special one day event Liverpool’s own Neighbourhood Coffee will introduce participants to the rich history of coffee and the complexities of roasting, tasting and preparation options.  The end result of this event will be a new limited edition custom roasted coffee blend made especially for The Brink in Liverpool.  The project also builds connection between art and recovery communities to create a deeper understanding of the potential for creative expression and engagement to assist the recovery process. Finally Free Hot Coffee radiates out into the community with pop-up pour over coffee stations where the general public can engage with with people in long term recovery and their allies, and learn about the project, over free hot cups of “Recovery Roast” coffee.    

FREE HOT SUPPER at 5pm Friday, September 9th, 2016 at The Brink

Free Hot Supper is about community.  Participants, guests and passerby involved in the Free Ice Water and Free Hot Coffee events are given a token with the date, time and location of the closing event: a simple community supper.  Token holders can attend the dinner themselves or if unable to attend, are prompted to give the token to someone belonging to a population affected by addiction, from persons in long term recovery, to a parent or loved one who is grieving the loss of a son, daughter or friend, to a stakeholder in local government.   Free Hot Supper is a celebration of the opportunity for individuals, groups, and communities to have meaningful conversations about addiction and recovery during the entire week of Fifty/Fifty events.


Free Ice Water | John Freyer | TEDxRVA – YouTube

TEDxRVA Pictures

TEDxRVA_Session 1 John Freyer


Image courtesy TEDxVCU photographer Shannon Lowe

Last week I had the great privilege to speak at the TEDxVCU event on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.  I talked about the origins of the FIW project and then had the opportunity to have a conversation with a member of the TEDxVCU audience.  AJ is a first generation college student who talked to me about the importance of the, almost daily, conversations that he has with his mom.    He chose to come to VCU so that he could study and be close to family.  At the end of our conversation he decided to leave a gift card that he received from his stepfather in the Perfect Mason Jar.  I had also come prepared to leave an object in the Perfect Mason and you’ll have to watch the our conversation on the TED stage to find out what is was.  (Video Link to Come)

Fountain Drinks

On April 21st, 1859, an incredible thing happened in London and thousands of people came out to celebrate it. Women wore their finest clothing. Men were in suits and top hats, and children clamored…

Source: 99% Invisible –  Fountain Drinks

Sherry Turkle’s ‘Reclaiming Conversation’ – NYTS

X After 127 distraction free, one on one conversations over ice water, I couldn’t agree more with Sherry Turkle!

Sherry Turkle is a singular voice in the discourse about technology. She’s a skeptic who was once a believer, a clinical psychologist among the industry shills and the literary hand-wringers, an empiricist among the cherry-picking anecdotalists, a moderate among the extremists, a realist among the fantasists, a humanist but not a Luddite: a grown-up. She holds an endowed chair at M.I.T. and is on close collegial terms with the roboticists and affective-computing engineers who work there.

Source: Sherry Turkle’s ‘Reclaiming Conversation’ – The New York Times

The Recovery Ride – Rained & Shined

Ready to roll! #FreeIceWaterRecoveryRide #JohnFreyer #1708gallery #Richmond2015 #uciworlds

A photo posted by 1708 Gallery (@1708gallery) on

On Friday night, an amazing group of people joined me on my custom modified “Water Wagon” for an alternative bike ride around Richmond. The tour included a few stops of significance on my own recovery journey but really followed the path that lead each of us on to that Bicycle. If I had not had that meal at Mama Zu’s with Brian and Paul, if Michael had not learned the accordion, if Hei Hei stayed in Hong Kong, and Devon not studied photo.. We all make subtle choices that lead us where we are. Thank you all for coming out, on a rainy Friday night to share your stories with me/us.


FREE ICE WATER: Recovery Ride


In collaboration with 1708 Gallery, John D. Freyer presents Free Ice Water: Recovery Ride.  This alternative bicycle tour corresponds with the UCI’s Conquer the Cobbles ride on Friday, September 25th from 6-8pm. The riders will shadow the UCI World Championship course in several places, including through the Arts and Culture District, and will also escape the crowds to visit unique points of interest on the artist’s own recovery journey.  Riders can join the artist on his 16 passenger Water Wagon Bicycle, ride their own bikes along the route, or ride one of the Richmond Rides touring bikes made available for the ride. The eight mile ride will start and end at 1708 Gallery in the Arts and Culture District and will also make stops in Oregon Hill, Byrd Park, Carytown, the Museum District and the Fan.   Refreshments will be served at numerous locations along the way.  

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 12.28.04 PM

FREE ICE WATER all over town.

Look for the Water Wagon! Downtown All Day!

FREE ICE WATER – mobile – all around town today. #freeicewater #1708gallery #VizArts #vcusustainability

A photo posted by John Freyer (@temporama) on