The Art of Domino

Domino is a game of chance and skill where players place domino pieces on the table and then “bend” them by adding or subtracting one or more spots from their ends. This allows the tiles to fit together or fall against each other in a way that increases the number of ways they can be matched. The more matching ends a domino piece has, the higher its value.

Dominoes are used by people all over the world and there are many different games that can be played with them. The two most basic Western games are the Block game for two players and the Draw game for four players. These games are usually played with a double-six set, although larger sets such as the double-nine or double-twelve can also be used.

The word domino derives from the Latin dominium, meaning “dominant.” It is thought that the first known use of the word was in 1750. Earlier, it referred to a long hooded cloak worn with a mask during carnival season or at a masquerade. The playing piece resembled this garment, with its ebony blacks and ivory faces, and its name may have come from that association.

Like the playing card suits, domino has several defining characteristics: each end of the tile bears an arrangement of dots, called “pips,” that are similar to those on a die. These pips are used to identify the domino, and they determine which suit it belongs to. The number of pips on an end is important because the majority of domino games are won by forming pairs or triplets. The pieces that cannot be matched belong to a third suit, and these are the dominos that are scored at the end of the game.

There are a variety of ways to arrange dominoes to make them look interesting, and some artists even create 3-D structures using the stones. The art form can be simple or elaborate, but it’s always a challenge to get all of the pieces in the right place at the same time without knocking over anything.

When Hevesh creates her works, she starts by brainstorming the images or words she wants to include and then planning out how she will build them with the dominoes. Her plans might include straight lines, curved lines, grids that form pictures when they fall, stacked walls or pyramids, or even 3-D sculptures.

Before Hevesh knocks over her creations, she carefully checks to make sure that each domino is positioned just right and has enough potential energy to push the next piece into its position. When she does hit a domino, it takes a few nail-biting minutes for the entire work to tumble down.

Dominoes have a special kind of power that enables them to influence the world around us. They can connect and inspire, but they can also break down barriers of race, class, and culture. As the world becomes more and more fragmented, it is encouraging to see how the smallest acts can have such a big impact.