Domino, from the Latin domini, meaning “flip,” refers to the small rectangular wood or plastic blocks that can be stacked on end in long lines and then tipped over to set off a chain reaction. They are used in a wide variety of games and can be used to create complex, artistic designs. The word has become a metaphor for an event or sequence of events that have unforeseen–and sometimes devastating–consequences. One of the best-known examples of a domino effect is the collapse of the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001, which triggered other terrorist attacks and led to the deaths of thousands of people.
Dominoes, also called dominoes or domino blocks, were first developed in China in the 1300s and later brought to Europe. The earliest versions had markings on their sides that looked like the dots on dice. Later, the pips were replaced with numbers, and the result was that the domino could be used for many types of games.
Today, most domino sets contain 28 tiles that can be arranged in a rectangle with two rows and eight columns. Larger sets exist for games that involve more players or that require more complex layouts. Most domino games fall into one of two categories: blocking or scoring. Blocking games involve removing pieces from opponents’ hands while the remaining pieces block their movement. Scoring games, such as bergen and muggins, determine points by counting the number of pips in each domino that remains in an opponent’s hand when it is knocked over.
Creating such intricate domino setups requires a great deal of skill and planning. Hevesh has a knack for creating visually stunning installations, and she has created numerous videos of her work on YouTube. Watch one of her videos and you will notice that she carefully considers several aspects of engineering-design as she plans a new project.
In order to successfully plan and execute a domino project, Hevesh must first understand the physical forces that are at play. She explains that gravity is the key factor that makes her designs possible. As a domino is pushed over, it loses energy, which is converted into kinetic energy, or the energy of motion. This energy is transmitted to the next domino in line, and on, and on, until the entire chain falls.
When Hevesh pushes over the first domino in her creation, it takes some time for all of the other pieces to follow suit. Her process begins by considering the theme of the domino layout, brainstorming images or words that might be associated with that topic, and then finding ways to convey that idea through the layout. As she builds her design, she must be sure that each piece is balanced and that it will work with the other elements. If she is successful, her finished domino project will be a visual feast that delights and amazes the viewer. Hevesh has worked on projects that use more than 300,000 dominoes. Some of her largest designs can take several nail-biting minutes to complete.