Transatlantic modernities between Brazil and Austria

IKWDatum | 03.03.2022 – 30.06.2022
Ort | Online/Zoom

Coordinators: Prof. Ana Magalhães (Museum of Contemporary Art of the University of São Paulo) and Prof. Sabeth Buchmann (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)

Invited scholars and artists: Claudia Augustat, Ana Avelar, Denilson Baniwa, Jens Baumgarten, Laura Erber, Dominika Glogowski, Christian Kravagna, Guilherme Mata, Susanne Neubauer/ Marcelo Mari, Sérgio Martins, Luís Camillo Osório, Valéria Piccoli, Mariana Sombrio, and Camila Sposati.

Period: Thursdays,March 3 to June 30, 2022

Time: 10 am (Brazilian time) / 2 pm (Austria time) – duration 2 hours


Meeting-ID: 991 6687 8058

Language: English

Evaluation and certificate: minimum attendance of 75% of the lectures, and final report of 5-7 pages on one topic of choice presented along the webinar.


Despite the many differences and distances between Brazil and Austria, the history of these two countries has been intertwined ever since the beginning of the 19th century. As she arrived in Brazil, in 1818, to marry the Portuguese Prince, D. Pedro I, Leopoldine von Habsburg had been prepared to fulfill an important mission by her father, i.e., create an alliance between the Portuguese Royal Court (settled in Rio de Janeiro since the Napoleonic Invasion in Portugal, in 1808) and annex the new Empire into the greater influence of the Habsburg Empire. Although the project failed and by the 1830s, the Austrian Emperor gave up any hope of having a territory in the Americas, such initiative left many significant marks, both in Brazil and in Austria.

In the year Brazil is to dedicate many events to celebrate the bicentennial of its independence (1822-2022), parallel to reevaluating the narratives of modernism that have risen from the centennial of the so-called Semana de Arte Moderna of 1922 [Week of Modern Art of 1922], this research seminar will invite scholars and artists to discuss topics recently explored in the fields of History, Theory and Criticism of the Visual Arts that have helped to throw new light into the cultural and artistic exchanges in the transnational encounters between Austria and Brazil. Some of the topics/themes to be dealt with are:

  1. Museu Nacional in Rio de Janeiro and the Austrian Expedition of 1818
  2. The so-called Brasilianeum in Vienna (1821-1831) and the voyages of Johann Natterer in Brazil/ Thomas Ender’s watercolours of Brazil
  3. Brazilian delegations organized by the II Empire in the Universal Exhibitions in the second half of 19th century
  4. Austrian artists in Brazil and Brazilian artists in Austria (19th to 21st centuries)
  5. Austrian delegation in the International Exhibition of the Centennial of Brazilian Independence, 1922
  6. Austrian delegations at the São Paulo Biennial
  7. Austrian immigrant intellectuals and artists in Brazil, 1930-1950
  8. National Identities and Modernity
  9. Indigenous and African-descendent Cultures and Modernity
  10. Women and Modernity
  11. Art and Politics
  12. Global Art History    



Ana Magalhães & Sabeth Buchmann: presentation of the programme

Lecture Camila Sposati: The parrot and the rabbit

Starting point and focus of this paper is the discussion of an image as a “matter of concern”: the ambiguous image that represents both a parrot and a rabbit, was found on a 16th century ceramic fragment during the excavation the author undertook for creating the Earth Anatomical Theatre (2014). During the excavation process to prepare the site for the construction, a Portuguese Faience earthenware from the 16th century was found and later analysed by the archaeologist Carlos Etchevarne from the Bahia Federal University. In one position the illustration on the fragment can be seen as a tropical parrot and the other way around as a rabbit. These two ways of seeing and understanding the animal figure open up questions about perspective(s) and interpretation(s).

The blue image reflects an indecisive position between a tropical species and one dwelling in a more temperate climate. How do we see ourselves in this ambiguous image? The two images create a metaphor of indecisiveness. The image mirrors the historical situation of the encounter and what that experience brought for both sides. Exploring notions of comparison and parody they appear in contact zones3 and to think about a differential production of subjectivity that escapes modern dualisms as for example the explorer/exploited, rational/ irrational. She will develop a personal reflection on the cultural objects and fields of knowledge, simultaneously on herself as the person who is making these relations. 

Camila Sposati was born in Sao Paulo. She has a Master’s degree in Fine Arts Goldsmiths College, currently based in Vienna, and follows the Ph.D. program at Akademie den bindenden Künste. Her works investigate transformation and energy processes, using methods that often approach scientific research methodologies. It has examined processes on a microscopic and global scale. In her work, Sposati juxtaposes material and historical processes in order to challenge official time and its significations.


Lecture Christian Kravagna: 1922 – A Year of the Transmodern

In 1922, modernism became transcultural. From Calcutta to Vienna, from Harlem to Moscow, from Paris to Sāo Paulo, artists, intellectuals and activists realized projects based on the transcontinental networks they had created since WW1. This paper casts a view on the entanglement of global modernisms through the lens of anti-colonial liberation politics, Pan-Africanism and racial justice movements. Based on the notion of the transmodern – a critical transcultural force challenging the colonial foundations of the Euromodern – the paper looks at the first exhibition of global modern art 1922 in Calcutta, the Semana de Arte Moderna the same year in Sāo Paulo and other coeval events. Reconstructing some of the relevant political and cultural frameworks, the paper inquires possibilities of a modern art history of contact.

Christian Kravagna is an art historian and Professor of Postcolonial Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. His most recent books are Transmodern: An art history of contact, 1920–60, Manchester 2022, and (with Cornelia Kogoj) Das amerikanische Museum: Sklaverei, Schwarze Geschichte und der Kampf um Gerechtigkeit in Museen der Südstaaten (The American museum: Slavery, Black history and the struggle for justice in museums of the South), Vienna/Berlin 2019.


Lecture Laura Erber: The Place of Brazil in Time: The contributions of Oswald de Andrade and Stefan Zweig

Erber investigates Brazil’s temporal identity in the works of Oswald de Andrade and Stefan Zweig. It charts how Brazil’s temporal inscription affects its cultural location and visibility within the global context. The anthropophagic philosophy of Oswald de Andrade and Zweig’s “Brazil experiment”, developed in his 1941 book Brazil, land of the future, are taken here as evidence and witnesses of this temporal “crisis”. They contradict the conception of Brazil as a backward country, with a temporal and cultural lag in relation to Europe, or attempt to recover the indigenous societal model in opposition to the European ideal of futurist art and its underlying worship of progress. François Hartog has argued that we currently live under a new regime of historicity, centered in the present as well as challenged by the loss of the future and the omnipresence of a past that does not pass. If this is the case, I suggest that both Oswald de Andrade and Stefan Zweig may offer clues about possible ways to rethink temporal semantics and reinterpret the heterochrony (Foucault, Chakrabarty, Fabian) of Brazil in the new complex temporality of the world.

Laura Erber is an art critic, visual artist and editor-in-chief at Zazie Edições ( She is Guest Researcher at the Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies at Copenhagen University and Visiting Professor at the Catholic University of Portugal (UCP). Author of Ghérasim Luca (EdUERJ, 2012) and The Unproductive Artist (Âyiné, 2021), she has also published several collections of poetry, and the novel Esquilos de Pavlov (Alfaguara, 2013), translated into Spanish and Romanian. She collaborates in several Brazilian newspapers and cultural magazines such as Folha de São Paulo, Suplemento Pernambuco and Zum/IMS magazine. In 2015 she founded Zazie Edições, an independent publishing house, focused on the dissemination of theoretical-critical essays in an open access system. She is currently a fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the Central European University (CEU), in Budapest. 


Lecture Guilherme Mata: How many we(s) fit into a “we”? On the contraction and expansion of collective identities in Oswald de Andrade’s Anthropophagic Manifest.

This paper discusses the use of the personal and possessive pronouns in the first person of plural in the Anthropophagic Manifesto. There, the use of a collective identity shrinks or expands: from a universal “we”, which by cultural anthropophagy is understood as the “human essence” (ex.: “Only anthropophagy unites us / The world’s only law”), to its delimitation as a political-ideological group (ex.: “We want the Caribbean revolution”). Each time, this “we/us” is defined by renewed perspectives: anthropological, epistemological, psychological, political, cultural and philosophical, bringing the processes of inclusion/exclusion of its components to quantitative and qualitative variations. In this process, the identification of “they/them”, which is also constitutive for the definition of the collective “we/us”, is also changeable and unstable: from an assimilation with the new European artistic current to the rejection of Western culture. In view of the diversity and inconstancy of forms for defining a collective identity, we can still ask today: would this constant expansion and contraction in the description of the common, which are even often contradictory, be the condition for our postcolonial identity? Or is this elasticity the condition for an identity at all?

Guilherme Pires Mata, born 1962, post-graduated in curatorial practices at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Currently, he is a Master’s student at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna working on the theses “Transcriptions on the nostalgic body: on the anthropophagic traces in the letters between Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica (1964-1974)” under the guidance of Prof. Sabeth Buchmann.


Lecture Valéria Piccoli: Austrian Mission in Brazil, 1817

The different itineraries followed through the interior of the country by members of the so-called Austrian Mission from 1817 on bequeathed to Brazilian culture an impressive corpus of scientific and topographical images of Brazil. This communication aims to analyze this legacy in a broader context that considers the presence of other missions (either scientific or not) and other traveler-artists crossing the Brazilian territory in the first decades of the 19th century. It also intends to reflect on the possible impacts of this legacy on the Brazilian artistic production at the time, considering its contribution to the country’s own imaginary of an exuberant tropical nature.

Art historian and curator, Valéria Piccoli has been Chief Curator at Pinacoteca de São Paulo since 2012. Her research work focuses on 19th century Brazilian art, especially the iconography of European traveler artists working in Brazil. She has collaborated in international projects such as Picturing the Americas: Landscape Painting from Tierra del Fuego to the Arctic (Pinacoteca / Terra Foundation for American Art / Art Gallery of Ontario, 2015-2016), Terra Brasilis (Europalia Festival, Brussels, 2011), among others.


Lecture Mariana Sombrio: Wanda Hanke’s Ethnological Collections in South American Museums

In 1934, the Austrian ethnologist Wanda Hanke (1893-1958) came to South America for the first time. She had a plan to develop studies on indigenous groups and was initially in Argentina, where she met the Cainguá. A few years later she came to the southern region of Brazil where she wrote studies on the Kaingang. Hanke continued engaged in these trips for over 20 years and gathered objects from different ethnic groups. She sent part of these collections to European museums and part remained in South America.

In this presentation, Sombrio will address the collections kept in three museums: Museum of Paraná (Museu Paranaense, Brazil), Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (MAE-USP, São Paulo-Brazil), and Archaeological Museum of Cochabamba (Museo Arqueológico de Cochabamba, Bolivia), approaching the history of these collections from records left by Wanda Hanke and museum data.

Mariana Sombrio is a historian (State University of Campinas, 2004), PhD in Science and Technology Policy (State University of Campinas, 2014), and currently a Professor at the Federal University of ABC (São Paulo-Brazil). Also took a Postdoctoral in Museology (2015-2019) at the University of São Paulo. Trained as a historian of science, my research focuses on the social history of sciences in Brazil, gender and science studies, and museology.


Lecture Claudia Augustat: Out of Brazil: The ethnographic collections at the Weltmuseum Wien

The Weltmuseum Wien has an extensive collection from Brazil, dating back to the marriage of Archduchess Leopoldine to the Portugese heir to the throne, Dom Pedro. In the course of the museum’s reopening in 2017, a separate gallery was dedicated to this collection. Under the title “An Austrian Mosaic of Brazil”, a new approach was developed that anchors the collections historically and gives space to indigenous voices. Two cooperation projects in particular played an important role. These are presented here. 

Claudia Augustat studied Ethnology, Art History and Indian Art History at the University of Bonn and was awarded her PhD from the Goethe University in Frankfurt/Main. In 2004 she became the curator for South American Collections at the Weltmuseum Wien. Her research focusses on Amazonian collections from the 19th century, material culture and cultural memory, on collaborative curatorship and the decolonization of museum praxis.  


Lecture Dominika Glogowski: From Energy to the Arts: Navigating Complexities in Brazil

The extraction of natural resources represents a complex dilemma of our modern way of living. For the envisioned energy transition more minerals are needed. Their exploration, however, has irreversible impacts on the environment and communities. The talk will draw on efforts by artists in navigating the net of power complexities in Brazil that verge on politics and development. The latter is still characterized by economic growth and commodification, coined by Alberto Acosta as the “trap of the curse of plenty.” How do art interventions raise voices of protest and reflection? How do artists approach tragedies and engage with communities and female survivors affected by tailing dam ruptures like in Córrego do Feijão in Minas Gerais? Spanning colonial history and contemporary global socio-economic dependencies, the discussions will evolve around the arts’ space between resistance and cooperation, and the artists’ aim to generate empowerment, healing and economic diversification in extractive zones.

Dominika Glogowski has a professional background in visual arts, art history, and arts management. She is the founder of the interdisciplinary think tank artEC/Oindustry on mining and the arts and the co-founder of the arts hub Deep Earth Synergies in Cornwall, UK. She initiates, designs and leads art-science programs on wicked problems in relation to climate emergency, the extraction of natural resources and behavioural change. Recently: ClimArtLab with the KLI Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, Austria and Going Deep. Going Lithium. Inhabiting Green Technologies with Cornish Lithium, UK. 


Lecture Ana Avelar: Sensitive female universes: considerations on the work of the Hungarian-Brazilian artist Yolanda Mohalyi

In this lecture, Avelar will address the case of the Hungarian-Brazilian painter who holds a lonely place in the historiography of local art, since, on one hand, she is unanimously understood as an undisputed icon of Brazilian informalist painting, while on the other, she generates little interest among academics. Monographic studies dedicated to her art do not present interpretations being limited to reporting art criticism of the 1950s and 1960s. To do so, I will use recent and feminist interpretations of the Jewish-Romanian-American artist Hedda Sterne, whose abstract expressionist work, little studied until the 2000s, is today of great interest in revisionist art history. Sterne, whose personal and professional history closely resembles that of Mohalyi’s, also had both academic and avant-garde training in her native land, before immigrating to the US in 1941. Upon arrival, Sterne meets Peggy Guggenheim and, given her friendship with the Dada and surrealist environment in Paris, she joins the surrealist group living in New York. Also in this decade, Sterne is one of the first artists to be represented by the Betty Parsons Gallery and participates in numerous abstract expressionist exhibitions. However, although she is the only female artist portrayed alongside the other “irascibles” in the famous 195s photo, she remained silenced by historiography, as well as from most retrospective exhibitions devoted to the subject. Sterne’s marginal place and her current rehabilitation as an indispensable artist of the abstract expressionist setting offer a direction for understanding Yolanda Mohalyi’s pictorial production, given their dialogues with mid-20th century abstract painting, as well as the relevance of their formation in a similar Eastern Europe’s artistic environment and their subsequent insertion in artistic scenes populated by the avant-garde debate in the Americas.

Ana Avelar is chair of the Fine Arts Department at University of Brasília. From 2017 to 2021, she was the curator of Casa Niemeyer [Niemeyer House]. In 2019, she won the Curators Exchange Program, promoted by the Brazilian Contemporary Art Association – ABACT and the Getty Research Institute. As a researcher, her main interests are contemporary and modern Brazilian art and art criticism.


Lecture: Dr. Susanne Neubauer in collaboration with Marcelo Mari: The Formation of an Ambience: The First Exhibition of Brazilian Contemporary Art in Austria (1959-1960)

The year 1959 marks an exciting turning point in the European post-war period, since in this year the importance of modern and contemporary art was once again subjected to a status report, before New York, the new art capital, declared the farewell of the traditional panel painting. Brazil plays an important role in this context as a non-European-US-American country, since art in Brazil was about to take an individual path in 1959. At the same time it was shown more broadly internationally. Boosted by the founding of the São Paulo Biennial in 1951 and the construction of Brasília, which gained the attention of the world public at the latest with its inauguration as a planned capital in 1960, Brazilian art also entered the international discourse in the context of the trend of transnational exchange exhibitions. The lecture focuses on the first comprehensive group exhibition of Brazilian which toured European cities in 1959 and 1960. This exhibition, which showed works from the 1920s to the newest production, was also on view at the Vienna Academy of Arts as a second stop. The article sheds light on the cultural-political background of this pivotal exhibition and embeds it into the contemporary discourse around the various declining and emerging art movements such as Constructive Art, Abstract Expressionism and Art Informel. Understood as a microhistory, the second part of our investigation also looks at the journalistic dialogue conducted by the Brazilian art critic and intellectual Mário Pedrosa with European critics, especially the Austrian critic of Die Presse, Jorg Lampe. Lampe had been one of the few to take a nuanced view of the works on display in the exhibition.


Susanne Neubauer studied art history, economics and film studies at the University of Zurich and completed her doctoral thesis on the installation work of the American artist Paul Thek in 2011. She was curator at the Kunstmuseum Luzern (2002-2009) and has since worked as an independent curator and scholar for art academies and museums (Moderna Museet Stockholm, Lehmbruck Museum Duisburg, Vorarlberger Kunstverein). She was lecturer, fellow or visiting professor at Kingston University London (2009-2014), University of the Arts London (2012), HBK Braunschweig (2014) and Universidade de Brasília (2017) and was research assistant to the director of HGK Basel (2013-2014). In her last position at Freie Universität Berlin, she researched projects of postwar modernity in Brazil and Germany. In 2018, she was a scholarship holder for cultural criticism at the Landis & Gyr Foundation in London.

Marcelo Mari has a doctorate in Brazilian intellectual Mário Pedrosa and currently teaches art theory and history at the Universidade de Brasília. His current research focuses on the heritage of art and modern architecture and their relationship to Brazilian politics. He recently published “Mobiliário moderno: das pequenas fábricas ao projeto da UnB” (“Modern furniture: from small factories to the UnB project”) (UnB Publisher, 2014) and “Ditadura, modernização conservadora e universidade: debates sobre um projeto de país” (“Dictatorship, conservative modernization and university: debates on a country’s project”) (UFG Publisher, 2015).


Lecture Luiz Camillo Osorio: Flávio de Carvalho – modern experimentalism and its echo in Helio Oiticica and Lygia Pape

Flavio de Carvalho (1899-1973) was an outsider among the modernist artists in Brazil. Architect, painter, writer, performer, he created an original and polyphonic oeuvre that is still resonating today. One of the dialogues that shall be proposed in this lecture is between Carvalho’s work and the Neoconcrete artists, specially in the more experimental and performative developments of Hélio Oiticica (1937-1980) and Lygia Pape (1927-2004) in the 1960’s.

Osorio will explore, after introducing Carvalho’s Experiential Theatre, his performances Experiências nº 2 and 3 and some of his more anthropophagic writings from the early 30’s, how they influenced in the early 60’s in the intertwining of art and life in the work of Oiticica and Pape, exploring also some experimental articulations between body, urban space and popular culture.

Luiz Camillo Osorio – Luiz Camillo Osorio (Rio de Janeiro, 1963) – Associate Professor of Aesthetics at the Philosophy Department at PUC-RJ. Curator Instituto PIPA. Researcher CNPQ. From 2009 until 2015 was Chief-Curator at the Museum of Modern Art Rio de Janeiro (MAM Rio). Curator of the Brazilian Pavillion at Venice Bienalle 2015. In 2010 was the curator of “O Desejo da Forma” with Robert Kudielka at the Akademie der Kunste/Berlim, in 2016 of “Alexander Calder e a arte brasileira” at Itau-Cultural SP and 2017 of the 35th Panorama da Arte Brasileira at the Museum of Modern Art São Paulo (MAM-SP).


Lecture Sérgio Martins: Antônio Dias in Milan

In 1969, less than a year after settling in Milan, Brazilian artist Antonio Dias joined an artist’s group named Art Terminal. The group was led by critic Tommaso Trini and, above all, by the multifaceted artist, theorist, and avant-garde musician Gianni-Emilio Simonetti – a Fluxus exponent in Italy who also had ties with the Situationist International. Despite its very short existence – the group only realized two happenings –, Art Terminal presented Dias with an alternative to the environmental art paradigm of the mid-1960s Rio de Janeiro avant-garde where he had first established himself. By paying attention both to works made in this period and to documents of his early interactions in Europe, this class will explore potential aesthetic implications of Dias’s negotiation with such markedly different paradigms.

Sérgio B. Martins is associate professor at the Department of History at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro and a CAPES/Humboldt Fellow at Freie Universität Berlin (2020-2022). He is the author of Constructing an Avant-Garde: Art in Brazil, 1949-1979 (MIT Press, 2013) and of numerous essays in exhibition catalogues such as Hélio Oiticica: to Organize Delirium (Carnegie Museum, 2017), Cildo Meireles (Reina Sofia, 2013), Anna Maria Maiolino (MoCA, 2017), Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture (Tate Modern, 2015) and Lygia Pape: a Multitude of Forms (The Metropolitan Museum, 2017), as well as articles in magazines and journals such as Artforum, October, ARTMargins, ARS, MODOS, Novos Estudos and Third Text. His current book project focuses on the transnational trajectory of Brazilian artist Antonio Dias after he moved first to Paris and then to Milan in the late 1960s.


Lecture Jens Baumgarten: Invention of the Baroque and Discourses of the Neo-Baroque: Politics and Religion in Austria, Brazil and the Philippines

The Neo-Baroque of the “Ringstrasse“ in Vienna shows the relation of this style with the creation and the ‘mise-en-scène’ of power. This can be read also in historiography of the Baroque from Sedlmayr to Maravall. For the Austrian context power was represented for and by the Habsburg dynasty and its tight relation between politics and religion. Calabrese and more recently Ndalianis and Moser have established to understand the Neo-Baroque not mainly as a style, but rather as a transcultural and transhistorical category of analysis

In this sense the paper is presented in five interpretaments. 1. The “Ringstrasse” as a monument with its Neo-Baroque style as representation of the Habsburg power; 2. The Neo-Baroque as a democratizing element in Western European and Northern American popular culture; 3. the Neo- Baroque as national identity, a conservative stabilizing movement and its relation to modernity; 4. the question of the senses: the visual and the tactile: from baroque to neo-baroque mise-en-scène in religious-political contexts; and last 5. Sistine Chapels from colonial – anti-colonial – Neo-Baroque: unfolding nationalism to Wunderkammer.

Jens Baumgarten is professor for art history at the Federal University of São Paulo (Universidade Federal de São Paulo). He studied Art History and History in Hamburg and Florence. After post-doctorate fellowships in Dresden, Germany, Mexico-City and Campinas, Brazil, he established one of the first autonomous departments of Art History in Brazil. In 2010 he was visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute and at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence (2016/2017). He is member of the Brazilian Committee of Art History (CBHA). He specializes in early modern art history of Latin America and Europe, Neobaroque as well as in historiography of art, violence and art, visual culture, theoretical and methodological contexts, and most recently on questions of ecology and art. Author of ‘Image, confession, and power’ (in German, 2004), several articles, and is preparing a book on ‘Visual systems in Colonial Brazil’ and another about comparisons between Brazilian and Filipino art history.


Lecture with artist Denilson Baniwa

Born in Barcelos, in the interior of Amazonas, Denilson Baniwa is indigenous to the Baniwa people. He currently lives and works in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro. As an activist for Indigenous peoples’ right, has held, since 2015, lectures, workshops and courses, acting strongly in the south and southeast regions of Brazil and also in Bahia. in 2018 held the exhibition “Terra Brasilis: o agro não é pop!”, at the University’s Art Gallery Federal Fluminense, also in Niterói, as part of the project “Brasil: A Margem”, promoted by the university. In the same year, he participated in the artistic residency of the fourth edition of the Corpus Urbis Festival, held in Oiapoque, Amapá. been in exhibitions at CCBB, Pinacoteca de São Paulo, CCSP, Centro de Artes Hélio Oiticica, Museu Afro Brasil, MASP, MAR and Sidney Biennale. In addition to being a visual artist, Denilson is also advertising, articulator of digital culture and hacking, contributing to construction of indigenous imagery in various media such as magazines, films and series of tv. In 2019 he won the Pipa Award in the online category and in 2021 he was one of the winners nominated by the jury.

Cite this blog post
lbader (2022, February 18). Transatlantic modernities between Brazil and Austria. Transregional Latin America Network. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from

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