Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia
Lucien Loge’s map depicts the proposed French Union’s Associated States of Indochina, the failed effort to prolong France’s colonial empire as a voluntary commonwealth. In this map, Vietnamese political agency is silenced. There is no depiction of the Viet Minh’s increasingly successful guerilla campaign, nor of any nationalist or Marxist activity. Rather, Vietnamese, Khmer, Lao, and ethnic highlanders engage in peaceful and industrious behavior such as growing rice and other rural labor. Musicians, a dancer, a monk, and a Confucian scholar show the region’s idealized cultural traditions. The only interaction with modernity is a coal miner in the far north and a rickshaw puller in the south. France’s modernization can be seen in the industrial activity near Hanoi and Saigon, and the planes and steamships which offer to connect this timeless land with France and the world beyond. In one concession to the changed political reality, Loge uses the once-banned name Vietnam, instead of the French-imposed division of the nation into Cochinchine, Annam, and Tonkin. However, the map does perpetuate these boundaries by separating Vietnam into South, Central, and North along the old imperial framework.