The Art of Domino

A domino is a small tile bearing an arrangement of spots or numbers, like those on a die, with the other side blank or identically patterned. The most familiar type is the double-six, whose end values range from zero (or blank) up to six. A domino is usually twice as long as it is wide — it is a rectangular piece, a bit smaller than a playing card. The identifying marks are often inlaid or painted. Many different natural materials have been used for domino sets, including stone (such as marble, granite or soapstone); woods, particularly ebony; ivory and bone; metals such as brass and pewter; ceramic clay and even frosted glass. The most popular material is polymer, though some sets still use natural, higher-quality materials for a more traditional look and feel.

The game of domino has a long history and is played throughout the world. It arrived in Europe in the late 18th Century, possibly via French prisoners, and was a popular pastime in British public houses and taverns. In the 19th Century, people began to build and design domino tracks that allowed them to create complex patterns of falling tiles.

Domino art is now a global hobby, with participants using different styles of construction to produce artistic pieces. Some build simple, straight lines of dominoes; others create curved lines or 3D structures. Artists also create specialized designs for movies, games and events. For example, an artist named Hevesh designed a track for Katy Perry’s latest album launch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

To create one of her mind-blowing domino setups, Hevesh follows a variation of the engineering-design process. She begins by considering a theme or purpose for the piece, and then brainstorms images that might symbolize or speak to the theme.

After that, she calculates how many dominoes are needed for the design and what color they should be. She then sketches out the layout, using arrows to indicate where each domino should fall. Once the design is ready, Hevesh carefully places each domino in the appropriate position, then begins to nudge it.

Then, as the first domino falls, its potential energy converts into kinetic energy and is transmitted to the next domino in line. This kinetic energy gives it the push it needs to topple that domino, and then the next one, and so on until all of the dominoes have fallen.

This is a good way to understand the concept of the domino effect, which describes situations in which one event triggers another, and so on. It is also an useful way to consider how a novelist can plot their work – the key to successful fiction plotting isn’t what happens, but what occurs after that.