Artistic Domino Displays

When a domino is tipped over, it converts much of its potential energy into kinetic energy, the energy of motion. That kinetic energy flows to the next domino, which pushes it into its place, and so on. The resulting chain reaction is what makes the game so addictive and fun. It’s also what enables domino artists to create mind-blowing displays, like the one Hevesh built in 2012, which broke the world record for the most dominoes toppled in a circular arrangement: 76,017.

Hevesh uses a version of the engineering-design process to create her installations, starting with a theme or purpose and brainstorming images or words that might be associated with it. Then she calculates how many dominoes she needs to achieve her vision and plans out the layout on paper. She also creates arrows to show the direction of the dominoes, as well as their size and color. Finally, she puts the pieces together and lets the laws of physics take over.

Dominos are a generic gaming device that can be used for a wide variety of games. Typically, the small, flat blocks are made of rigid material and have an identity-bearing side and a blank or identically patterned face. The identifying marks, or “pips,” on the pips of a domino are arranged in sets of two, similar to those on a die.

Each domino is a unit of play in a positional game, in which each player takes turns placing a tile on the table so that it touches one end or another of a preceding domino chain. Each successive domino placed must be adjacent to the other, and a tile played to a double must touch both sides of that double. The resulting snake-line of dominos develops according to the strategy and whims of the players, and is influenced by the structure of the playing surface.

In addition to positional games, dominoes can be used for building structures, and in artistic applications such as creating designs and sculptures. They can be arranged to form curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls, and 3D structures such as towers or pyramids. The possibilities are endless.

When it comes to writing, dominoes can also serve as a helpful metaphor for plotting a novel. Whether you are a plotter who creates an outline before beginning or a pantser who writes by the seat of your pants, it is important to think about how each scene in your story will naturally influence the scenes ahead of it. That way, your readers will be able to predict what will happen next, which is the essence of compelling fiction.