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Work Credits:

Michael Bell-Smith


Subterranean House (Oonce Oonce) (2007) is a reworked excerpt of Bob Dylan's seminal "electric piece" (a film set to the score of his song "Subterranean Homesick Blues") in which the legendary rocker holds up the provocative song lyrics on cue cards for the camera. Bell-Smith's modification draws a line between the protest culture of the '60s and the frenetic youth culture of today. To construct Subterranean House (Oonce Oonce), he digitally altered one sequence of the original piece, wiping the cue card of text and replacing it, frame by frame, with the single word "oonce,"-the onomatopoeic vocalization of the archetypal house beat. He then replaced the original song with a repetitive, pared down house beat. These simple alterations contrast Dylan's music, with its focus on lyric, narrative, and political agitation with contemporary, instrumental dance music and club culture. In Subterranean House (Oonce Oonce), Dylan, one of the first visible proponents of the electric guitar in mainstream music culture, is left looping endlessly in the ambivalent consequences of his musical legacy.