& Imagining

Looking Glass is an app-based archive of Black life in Pittsburgh. We use augmented reality to connect the present to the past and imagined futures.

40.461142, -79.926171 - Looking Glass & Teenie Harris Collage
Looking Glass Sculpture Concept Art by artist Victoria Elliott

“The process of remembering can be a practice which ‘transforms history from a judgement on the past in the name of a present truth to a counter-memory...helping us to understand and change the present by placing it in a new relation to the past’”

- bell hooks

Concept Art by Victoria Elliott

Travel the City & Explore the Archive

Looking Glass's primary feature is its explore view. Use the map to discover markers where people, events, and institutions are remembered.

At each location, you can examine artifacts like photos and videos and activate site-specific AR sculptures.

The Origins of Looking Glass

By Adrian Jones

Redlining Maps from the HOLC, 1937
Redlining Maps from the HOLC, 1937

When I moved to Pittsburgh from Harrisburg, PA in 2017, my new neighbors made it a point to inform me of the shifting landscape between the city’s three rivers. Time and again, revitalization projects and sites of “innovation” had treated Black residents with little regard.

Neighborhoods that they had known as home for decades were being forcefully transformed in the interest of maximizing profits for land owners. As I spoke with more people, read more accounts and walked through more spaces, I learned that the marks of gentrification are especially vicious and repugnant in the East Liberty neighborhood...