Domino is an elegant, abstract game for two or more players in which the objective is to build a line of dominoes from start to finish. Each domino has a unique arrangement of spots, or pips, that distinguishes it from other dominoes. The pips may indicate a value, such as one to six, or they may be blank. The most common type of domino set contains 28 tiles.
When the first domino in a line is tipped over, it causes the next domino to tip over, and so on, until all the dominoes topple. This is the basis for the expression “the domino effect,” meaning that one small action can lead to much greater and unexpected consequences.
In a novel, or in nonfiction, a domino might be each scene in a narrative that advances a theme or statement. Each domino might not be very effective by itself, but when you put them all together they can make a powerful and persuasive argument.
As you can imagine, this sort of domino effect can be applied to almost any scenario. Whether it’s how your day goes, or how your home runs, domino can influence the entire flow of things. For example, Jennifer Dukes Lee found that if she made her bed every morning, the rest of her house fell into a state of order. Her domino effect was that she started believing she really was the kind of person who maintained a tidy home.
Hevesh began collecting dominoes when she was 9. By the age of 13, she’d started posting videos of her creations online, and now she’s a professional domino artist. She’s worked on projects involving hundreds of thousands of dominoes, and she helped to set the record for the most dominoes in a circular arrangement. Her largest installations can take several nail-biting minutes to fall.
To create a mind-blowing domino installation, Hevesh starts with a general idea of what she wants to achieve. Then, she brainstorms images and words that might relate to it. To make sure her creations will work, she tests each section. She sets up a small portion of the display, then barely touches the first domino with her finger to see if it will fall over. Once she’s satisfied that each section works, Hevesh puts the entire arrangement together.
Hevesh says that the most important physical phenomenon in a domino setup is gravity. This force pulls the domino toward Earth, sending it crashing into the next domino, which in turn pushes the next domino, and so on. It’s why her most complex designs can take so long to complete. But, Hevesh has a few tricks up her sleeve to speed things up. She pre-makes test versions of each section, and she films the whole process in slow motion to catch any problems before they occur. This allows her to make precise adjustments. It also helps her to show off the impressive results of her hard work.