After two years of sporadic lockdowns, northern Laos has fully reopened to travelers. Preceding ecotourism's recovery, communities however have shown indifference to providing ecoservices; seen across villages which prioritize alternatives like rubber concession, transnational investments are diminishing indigenous values in exchange for economic returns. With developments proliferating across cultural landscapes, ancestral soils were turned into exploitative grounds. Disappearance of historical traces may ultimately homogenize indigenous significance. In light of such fragility, Development detours offer an adaptive framework of landscape genealogies by using two tailored formulas externally and internally. Practicing Foucault’s discourse of power, the proposal constructs resilience by detouring development progression, interconnecting nodes of chronicle as a rework of presence. Two villages along the Namtha river, namely Sin Oudom and Khon Kham, were selected for their ongoing frictions. While formula one emphasizes “differences” between livelihood by reconnecting nonlinear spatio-temporality into discursive viewpoints; formula two delineates “collectiveness” by acknowledging myths, traditions and legacies of practices as a celebration of identities. By utilizing account as a forward-minded approach, thus history of the present.
Development detours: Landscape genealogies for post-pandemic ecotourism in northern Laos
Studio Laos: Strategic Landscape Planning for the Greater Mekong
by Bryan Bvyn Wong, with instructors Ashley Scott Kelly & Xiaoxuan Lu