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A creative and collaborative space for migrant workers in Singapore

Project X: MOTIF

Contributor Ananya

©Somewhere Else

Motif is a speculative record label for musically-inclined migrant workers in Singapore that fosters their well-being through community and brotherhood. Migrant workers in Singapore, primarily from countries like India, Bangladesh and China, — involved in unskilled, physically strenuous labour — lead very monotonous and exhausting lives.

They generally get only one day off a week for rest and recreation. However, the lack of facilities catered towards migrant workers along with limited social acceptance restricts the spaces where they are welcomed in Singapore. With this scarcity of outlets for their personal well-being, migrant workers end up feeling homesick, lonely, and disconnected from their culture.

They lack opportunities for any personal development and a sense of belonging beyond their day-to day wage earning employment.

Motif as a record label and music community provides a space for the musically inclined migrant workers to collaborate, create, and ultimately produce music that can be publicly distributed — representing their talent, culture and brotherhood outside their identity as simply labourers.

By connecting migrant workers from different countries among each other and with locals in a creative and supportive setting, Motif fosters a sense of belonging and collaboration — connections that build a community of support even beyond Motif itself.

Motif does not refer to a physical space, but a community as a social space where they feel accepted, ambitious and creative.

With the production of musical records created by the migrant workers with the support of local professionals, Motif provides migrant workers the opportunity to create something they can call their own — in a country they have built, but do not own anything in.

The music acts as a medium of connection between the migrant workers and the rest of the world as something that transcends geographical and social boundaries.

Opportunities for the music to be promoted in the digital space and in tourism productions in Singapore offers the best form of representation and integration of the migrant workers in society — being a significant and undeniable part of where Singapore is today.

Looking Ahead

As a brand for tomorrow, Motif does not simply aim to develop skill and talent for just the musically inclined migrant workers, but seeks to inspire more to learn and join the community with future opportunities for academic training and workshops — for those who seek music as a creative outlet.

In an increasingly culturally divided society today, Motif aims to bring people together and promote the well-being and acceptance of migrant workers in Singapore cultivating the power of collaboration and creativity to do so.

About the Graphic System

The graphic system explores abstracted and exaggerated letterforms from the Bengali, Tamil and Chinese scripts in the RGB colour space. It makes use of only 4 colours along with “Exclusion” and “Difference” transparency modes to create individual overlapping graphics for the music — as the truest form of the unique outcomes of collaboration. It provides Motif a distinct yet expansive library of visuals for years to come.

Images generated using Midjourney.
Fonts in Use: ManVs Bombay, Farro & Hind Siliguri.

In the near future, what will people need and expect from brands? Project X is an ongoing series of thought experiments by Somewhere Else.
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