Sonic Dan, 1994
The Mackey House (MAK), Los Angeles, 2001, with Stephen Prina, 1:31:04 h.
Film: Anita Pace
Sonic Dan, premiered in Luna Park, Los Angeles, in 1994, is a groundbreaking work for Prina. In this first solo work, he transfers his conceptual strategies to the medium of musical performance. Sonic Dan connects high and pop culture in order to highlight the differences between them, while at the same time making them obsolete. A recording of the string quartets by Anton von Webern at the beginning is followed by songs from the avant-garde pop music band Sonic Youth and the California jazz-rock band Steely Dan, which Prina appropriates by singing them himself.
In 2001, this work was recorded in the courtyard behind the Mackey House in Los Angeles, which was designed by Rudolph Schindler and is now used by the Vienna Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) as a residence for visiting artists and as an exhibition space. The video does not show the musician but two Minnie and Mickey Mouse figures dressed up as astronauts in silver jumpsuits with rainbows dancing to disco. Prina himself often wears jumpsuits when performing. The figures come from the extensive Disney collection owned by the artist Felix Gonzales-Torres and were bequeathed to Prina. During the performance, they stand on Prina’s Fender Rhodes electric piano, creating a relationship to the performance location where a Gonzales-Torres light installation was part of the exhibition at the time.