Annabel Howland

Driven by a deep curiosity about the substance of life and matter, artists and scientists examine life and our surroundings at fundamental levels.

Annabel Howland’s artistic research moves within the triangle finance-science-art. The creative process of examining a subject from different angles and passing it through various media and artistic languages opens up new spaces for the spectator, for imagination and nuanced reflection.

Prompted by the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis Annabel Howland launched her own research-based art project Producers-Parasites-Hosts in 2012. She wondered what had happened to the scientists of her generation who made a career switch to the financial world in the 80s and how they looked back upon the developments leading to the financial crisis. She traced a number of them and recorded a series of interviews.

Because of the similarities in the models applied, she also studied the research fields of two scientists affiliated with VU: evolutionary biologist Prof. Toby Kiers and economist Prof. Albert Menkveld. Market theories were applied to research on the cooperation between plants and fungi. Natural science models were used to understand financial market forces.

In her ongoing project Producers-Parasites-Hosts Howland weaves a speculative web in which themes such as cooperation/competition, stability/instability and profit/loss are intermingled with stories about microbial cooperation and human debts. She concludes the project with a presentation at VU. This multimedia presentation, shown during GET LOST – art route, comprises drawings and texts printed on transparent foil pasted to the windows of the central hall of VU’s main building; an audio work; and photos.


VU University Amsterdam, Boelelaan 1105, Amsterdam

weekdays from 7 am - 11 pm
saturday from 8 am - 6 pm
sunday from 10 am - 6 pm

Annabel Howland’s work evolves through artistic research into subjects or phenomena which intersect in between art, science and finance. The creative process of exploring a subject from many angles and passing it through different media and artistic languages opens up new spaces for the viewer, for imagination, and for nuanced reflection.

Prompted by the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis, she launched her own research-based art project, Producers-Parasites-Hosts, in 2012. Under this title, she has spent the last few years navigating where art, science and finance meet, by exploring themes of cooperation/ competition, stability/instability, profit/loss.


As a knowledge institute VU is glad to contribute to GET LOST, where perspectives on Zuidas and society are shared with the public. VU encourages the interaction between science and art, since both knowledge and experience are necessary to gain insight into ourselves and the world around us. Through publicly accessible projects and exhibitions VU wants to engage the public actively in her core values: education and research. Artist Annabel Howland’s Producers-Parasites-Hosts explores the systems and models that do not only shape science, but also society. The presentation is sponsored by the Mondriaan Fonds, a publicly financed fund stimulating visual arts and cultural heritage.