Domino, or dominoes as they are often called, are one of the oldest tools for games and entertainment. From professional domino game competition to building elaborate setups and then simply knocking them over, there are countless ways in which these small, rectangular blocks of wood or plastic can be used for fun.
A domino is a flat, thumb-sized block that is either blank or has a pattern of dots resembling those on dice. A domino set contains 28 such pieces, and a player earns points by placing one of them end to end against another so that the exposed ends match (i.e., one’s touch each other; two’s touch two’s) and form a number that is multiple of five (a double).
The earliest dominoes developed in China around the 12th or 13th century and were functionally similar to playing cards. The Chinese dominoes were originally made to represent the 21 possible outcomes of throwing two six-sided dice. The European dominoes that are familiar to us today were first introduced to the West during the mid-18th century and contain a number of differences from the Chinese sets. For one thing, the dominoes in a typical European domino set do not contain any blank tiles; every domino has a specific pattern of dots that corresponds to a particular suit.
Each suit consists of the numbers 0 through 6, and each individual domino belongs to only one suit, although some dominoes may belong to more than one. The pips are typically color coded, with black being the most common for modern dominoes. Other colors, such as white and pink, are sometimes used for special purposes. The pips are also usually engraved with more clearly readable Arabic numerals, such as 1-4 or 1-6, to aid in recognition and to facilitate scoring.
In addition to the figurative meaning of domino as a symbol of a chain reaction, the word is sometimes used as a synonym for an action that leads to a predictable outcome, especially in politics. For example, President Dwight Eisenhower famously cited the falling domino principle during a press conference to help explain America’s decision to provide support to the government of South Vietnam in 1955.
Hevesh is known for her mind-blowing domino setups. When creating her arrangements, she uses a version of the engineering-design process. She tests each section separately and then puts them together in the correct order to achieve the desired effect. She also films her setups in slow motion to make adjustments if necessary. Hevesh begins by constructing the largest 3-D sections of her creations, then adds flat arrangements and finally lines of dominoes that connect all the sections together. She does this all while avoiding any accidental tripping of her dominoes or the collapse of her work. It is truly a sight to behold.