The Art of Domino

Domino is an art form that requires a keen eye for detail and a strong sense of timing. Creating intricate domino structures is challenging, but even more so is creating the right sequence of scenes to build momentum and reach a story’s goal. This is because scenes must not only advance the hero’s journey but also must be in harmony with what comes before and after, much like a domino cascade. If a scene deviates from what most readers think is logical, the effect will be lost. For example, if a hero does something immoral (like shooting a stranger or having an affair), the story will lose credibility with readers who want to keep liking him as their hero and understand why he’s going against societal norms.

Dominoes are flat, thumb-sized rectangular blocks, bearing from one to six pips or dots. There are 28 such pieces in a complete set. Dominoes are used to play a variety of games, usually by matching the ends of tiles and placing them in lines and angular patterns. They are sometimes referred to as “chinese checkers” or “dominations.”

A game of dominoes consists of taking turns picking a piece from the stock and then playing it onto the table, laying it down in an end-to-end line so that its adjacent pieces fall in place. A player wins the game if she has all of her tiles left in her hand and no other players have all of theirs. Each player is attempting to form a domino line of seven or more dominoes.

Traditionally, European-style domino sets were made of bone or ivory, silver lip ocean pearl oyster shell (mother of pearl) or a dark hardwood such as ebony, with contrasting black or white pips (inlaid or painted). Recently, sets have been made from stone (e.g., marble, granite or soapstone); other woods (e.g., ash, oak or redwood); metals (e.g., brass or pewter); ceramic clay; and even frosted glass or crystal. These sets have a more novel look, but are generally more expensive than polymer materials.

In addition to being fun and creative, dominoes can be used as a tool for learning math. In particular, a game called “Spinning Dominoes” allows students to practice basic addition and subtraction by spinning the dominoes around and counting their pips. This game is great for kids who are just beginning to learn how to count.

While the hero in a story may not be trying to win a game of dominoes, Hevesh does create her own unique and spectacular domino art installations for movies, TV shows, events, and her YouTube channel. Her largest domino setups take several nail-biting minutes to fall due to the laws of physics.

She begins by making test versions of each section of a larger installation, and then filming them in slow motion so that she can make adjustments if necessary. Then she builds the sections, and finally puts the lines of dominoes that connect them together. It’s important to Hevesh that each domino work individually before assembling the bigger 3-D arrangements and flat arrangements that are part of her creations.