The stage is set up like a college dorm, complete with Bob Marley and Pulp Fiction posters - a snowboard in the corner. ICE ROD (Michael Gaughan), acting as just another bored kid in the dorms, surfs Chatroulette making individual freestyles for other lonely, thrill-seeking, sexually obsessive chatters around the world.
Gaughan wears an inconspicuous microphone, situates his laptop so only a bed and “dorm” background are visible to chatters, then creates detailed, hilarious, often insightful raps about them. The audience watches the in-person performance, but they also see a projection of the unknowing Chatroulette participants and the virtual dorm where ICE ROD lives. Audience members are invited on stage to act as college buddies and Resident Advisors.
Much of the fun comes from the chatters’ reactions: some simply watch, some laugh, some curse him out. Often the biggest excitement comes when the laptop camera is turned and the chatters realize they’re in front of an audience. At one show, a budding rapper was overcome when he realized he’d just rapped in front of a live audience. At another, a closet-exhibitionist found that there is perhaps no better thrill than ejaculating to the encouraging cheers of hundreds.
Gaughan, always the gifted lyricist, creates a show above and beyond the prank with his ever-changing library of beats and his freestyle skills honed over years in the Minneapolis underground.
Michael Gaughan has a BFA in Painting from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and an MEd from the University of Minnesota. He was awarded City Pages' 69th most creative person in the twin cities 2010, and L'etoile's Best Artist of 2011. He has been a visiting artist at the Walker Art Center, and at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art.
He has exhibited his paintings in numerous group and solo shows including Deitch Projects at Art Basel Miami, Deplayer in Rotterdam, Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts in Oregon, the Ace Hotel in New York City, at the Soap Factory, Soo Vac Gallery, and the LACE Museum in Los Angeles. His paintings have recently been used in a neurological medical study of aesthetic experiences at Liverpool John Moores University.
He has been interviewed and featured in The Onion, Irish American News, 89.3 the Current, and Radio K. He has made illustrations for Nike, American Apparel, Andrew WK, Diplo, Rhymesayers Entertainment, Jagjaguwar Records, Troma Films, City Pages, Flaunt Magazine, Good Magazine, Surface Magazine, the Seattle Weekly, Dining Out Magazine, and other musical, arts, magazines, and film projects. Michael has orchestrated over ten city-wide scavenger hunts as performance art/public art in Minneapolis, MN and Portland, OR.