CAT Team and the Ultima Festival are proud to present POLLUTION SYMPHONY

This event pivots around the seminal Norwegian avant-garde composer Arne Nordheim (1931–2010). His unique artistic vision is the starting point for a journey that takes us from the emergence of modernism in Norway right up to the current experimental music scene in Japan. A fusion of music, photography, film making and cuisine will give an audience consisting of both avant-garde insiders as well as the broader Japanese public a fresh perspective on these intriguing cultural connections.

The modernist scene in Norway, in which Nordheim was a prime force, was small, but produced a wide array of expression, pushing the envelope in both music and visual arts. There was a strong willingness to collaborate across genres, in tune with the international movements of the day. This project takes its cue from their border-crossing approach, and will include many different expressive forms.

Dates & Venue

Friday 10 & Saturday 11 February @ VACANT in Harajuku, Tokyo.

Visit for tickets and information!


Musical Program

The line-up features contemporary Norwegian musicians who either had a direct artistic connection with Arne Nordheim, or who are continuing his experimental and forward-thinking musical legacy. The accomplished accordionist Frode Haltli represents the former, while Jenny Hval and her singular musical explorations at the fringes of pop, embodies the latter. Cutting-edge Japanese electronic artist Oorutaichi – using Nordheim’s music as inspiration – completes the bill.

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Utena Kobayashi is a solo artist based in Tokyo. Using various means of expression including singing, steel pans, marimba, synthesizers, pads and influenced by everything from laptop music, rap / opera / metal and much more, she continues to make creative choices regardless of her means of performance. As well as being a solo artist in her own right, she participates in D.A.N. Live, as well as scoring visuals, arranging music and producing various sound sources. She was also an integral part of the band Demon, which appeared at the Fuji Rock Festival's Rookie Stage in 2013 and dissolved the same year.

Kobayashi has also worked with musicians such as Hideo Numatauma, Tokumarushugo +, Sakamoto Miyu, Ackky, Suzuki Hirofumi and Daniel Kuon. Toshihiko Kasai mastered her first solo album from 2.5 D PRODUCTION, released in May 2016.


Jenny Hval has in recent years made a name for herself as a recording artist and writer both in her native Norway and abroad. Multidisciplinary and transgressive are words often employed to describe her art, but Jenny Hval’s polyphonic artistry is in fact seamlessly interwoven between musical, literary, visual and performative modes of expression. Her artistic voice is altogether present, accessible and obscurely complex at the same time.

Hval released her first two albums under the alias Rockettothesky (an alias named after her very first recorded song in 1999, and slayed with the greatest pleasure in 2010). She has since recorded three albums under her own name: Viscera, Innocence Is Kinky, and Apocalypse, girl (Sacred Bones Records / Su Tissue, 2015). She made her debut as a writer with the novel Perlebryggeriet in 2009. The less genre friendly Inn i ansiktet followed in 2012. She has worked on a number of collaborations, sound pieces, compositions, productions and performances.

September 30th 2016 she released a bold, new vampire blood solo album Blood Bitch, co-produced by noise artist Lasse Marhaug and herself.


Frode Haltli (b. 1975, Norway) began playing the accordion at the age of seven. As a child he played folk music but soon moved into different forms, and he swiftly developed exceptional instrumental skills alongside a deep understanding of new music. After studies at The Norwegian Academy of Music and the Royal Danish Academy of Music he released his debut CD 'Looking on Darkness' on the prestigious label ECM in 2002. Haltli established himself as an international soloist and chamber musician, finding lasting partnerships with musicians such as Trygve Seim, POING (with Rolf-Erik Nystrøm and Håkon Thelin) and composers such as Bent Sørensen, Hans Abrahamsen and Maja S.K. Ratkje. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras world-wide and is equally comfortable playing on contemporary music festivals in Warsaw, Witten and Huddersfield as on major jazz, classical and world music festivals.


Oorutaichi has been active since 1999, when he under the influence of Doors, Puzzle Punks, Aphex Twin, etc,  started improvising music in his bedroom. After a shocking encounter with dancehall reggae, he changed to a style that puts non-verbal "songs" to bass-based music. After activities recently wroking with the band Urichipan County, he released his latest album entitled "Yuuki", this past December of 2016.

His ranges of activity varies widely, including everything from remixing other musicians to writing stage music and doing sound supervision of animation movies.

Film Screenings

The programme includes documentaries on Nordheim and the Henie Onstad Art Centre, the Oslo based venue for much crucial avant garde performance. They where made for Norwegian state broadcaster NRK by the Hungarian-Norwegian film maker Istvan Korda Kovacs. Viewed together, they give context and background to Nordheim’s music and outline the creative environment in which he worked.



Istvan Korda Kovacs (1934 – 1992) was a Hungarian-Norwegian journalist, photographer and filmmaker. Defecting from communist Hungary while participating as an athlete in a track and field competition in London in 1966 after journalism school, he later studied both photography and filmmaking. Arriving in Norway towards the end of the 1960’s, he was hired by the national television broadcaster NRK, who had by then been on the air for less than a decade and quickly rose to a prominent position on the basis of being the first amongst the staff with a proper background in filmmaking. In an astoundingly short time Kovacs managed to insert himself in the small and bourgeoning Norwegian modernist scene, producing intimate, personal and experimental films portraying all of the main protagonists in both visual arts and music, chiefly among them Arnold Haukeland, Arne Nordheim, Anna-Eva Bergmann and Ole-Henrik Moe. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s Kovac’s wide-ranging series of documentaries, brought NRK’s viewers insights based on a continental cultural appetite quite unknown in Norway at the time.


Arne Nordheim. Occupation: Composer (1974) - 58min

Capturing the modernist composer at his most dynamic, Kovacs’ documentary is an window into Nordheim’s engaging and inventive ways, both inside and outside of the studio. Filmed at the height of his electronic-meets-acoustic period of the mid 70’s. Nordheim’s charisma and drive shines through every scene.


Twenty years of present tense (1988) - 51min

The Henie Onstad Art Centre right outside of Oslo, has been a focal point for all things avant-garde in Norway since it opened in 1968. Founded by the famous ice skater and onetime Hollywood actress Sonia Henie and her husband Niels Onstad, Henie Onstad was set up to house both visual arts, music and performance events under one roof. In this documentary Kovacs takes us through its varied history through both interviews with the art centre’s first director Ole Henrik Moe and archival footage from projects with peoples such as Karlheinz Stockhausen. Cathy Berberian, Mauricio Kagel and John Cage.


Photo Exhibition / Resource Library

In a photography exhibition plus related documentation, we trace Nordheim’s work for Osaka Expo 1970, where he was responsible for a groundbreaking audiovisual installation at the Scandinavian Pavilion. His piece tapped into the era’s emerging environmental consciousness, detailing the positives and negatives about human interaction with Nature. The press dubbed it a ‘pollution symphony’, and it still speaks to our own age when global warming is scientifically recognized and the need for international collaboration is ever more urgent.


The event is produced by curatorial duo CAT team in collaboration with Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival, and supported by VACANT, Fuglen Tokyo and NRK.

A heartfelt thank you also goes out to the Scandinavia-Japan Sasakawa Foundation, the Kakehashi Foundation, Music Norway, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo and Arcus Norway.