On any given evening, Alex Rauch can be found belting out one of his go-to jams—Queen’s “Somebody to Love” tops the list—but since he invented the bicycle karaoke machine, he’s no longer restricted to bars and holes in the wall. Rauch’s design made its debut in the fall of 2012, during his second year studying for a master’s in art at the University of Illinois at Chicago. It now serves as mobile karaoke entertainment all over the city.
Most recently, the machine has been to the Hyde Park Art Center and a private garden party. “It’s cool to bring the experience to people who don’t do it as often but are excited about it, or have had enough drinks they would just try it,” Rauch said.
With welding equipment and a few trips to Home Depot, Rauch created the karaoke machine and attached it to his bike. A portable power source keeps the computer within the podium full of songs, while the installed motorcycle speakers blare the hits. Flashing lights add some flair. Participants sing on the platform attached to the podium while being pulled behind the bicycle at around ten miles per hour.
The machine falls into what Rauch describes as “life art”—every work he creates is meant to be experiential. “I like to have that kind of social interaction and experimentation,” he said. “I love people’s reactions.” For more on where bicycle karaoke might pop up next, visit alexrauch.com.