Colin Matthes
5/31/13 4:09 PM

What kind of knowledge does a person need to know in order to survive the threats of our terror-stricken, post-9/11, environmentally fraught, natural-disaster-prone day and age? With tongue firmly in cheek, Colin Matthes has created a series of posters illustrating in great detail what he takes to be the “Essential Knowledge” of today. This includes how to prepare small game, make weapons in a pinch, throw a knife, start a fire without matches, encode messages, shoot a semi-automatic pistol, make a boat from the ruins of a gas station, purify water, and break down a door. The resulting series registers as part Boy Scout manual, part outdoorsman guidebook, part Army/Navy training notes, and part, um, paranoid conspiracy theorist Internet search results. What could be more apt reading for the average American? With the right packaging—certainly not the scrawled, lone man in the woods drawing style that the artist has perfected—Matthes could have a best-seller on his hands. And a whole lot of blood.

—Lori Waxman
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