Much of adult content is very personal in many ways, as it involves performers sharing, at least through the visual medium, their bodies and real time sexual development. Even when it’s highly staged, the vulnerability and openness of performers is to be admired. So it’s no surprise that the new book by performer, director, and artist Amarna Miller is a resounding success. Released recently via publisher Lapsus Calami, Miller’s Manual de psiconáutica is a poignant and powerful mix of memoir and poetics.
Manual de psiconáutica is a collection of previously unpublished verse and freeform poetry, interlaced with photography chronicling Miller’s experiences over the past several years. It’s style mirrors that of a carefully crafted scrapbook, and immediately draws you into a different side of the Amarna Miller we’ve all grown to be intrigued and aroused by.
Miller’s photography ranges from the explicit and hardcore to the wistful and subtle, much of these elements naturally bleeding into one another throughout the course of the 80 pages. All of the images share Miller’s eye for intimacy in the quotidian – I find myself as drawn to a photo of two car fenders almost touching as a shadowy shot of Amarna in bed with two other individuals. What’s important here is that all of the photos are personal, seemingly taken only to immortalize a memory and not to be dragged through Photoshop. There’s a rawness to the overall design.
Like the imagery in the book, the fragments of poetry and poetic prose bring the reader into personal and artistic transformations Miller has undergone in her career and life. It’s akin to reading a diary, albeit with much more attention paid to layout and stylistic pacing. Some of the poetry fragments read as prose musings on the nature of change, personal development, and accepting mortality, and others stand out as lyrically composed revelations on love and loss.
In Manual de psiconáutica, Miller meticulously examines the transitory nature of experience, how moments come and go, and how artistically capturing momentary events grasps at the feeling of eternity. Being is meant to be enjoyed, lived, and revered to the fullest, or each moment that passes is gone without ever being immortalized in memory or poetics.
Parallel to the aesthetic and thematic depth Miller achieves here, the book is really a pleasure to immerse oneself in. The writing is moving and, ultimately, hopeful, and the photos, with their natural quality, give a much more personal perspective on her work, career, and who she is as an emotional, relatable individual. Miller’s literary feat here is how inviting the book is, how graceful her strong grasp of her own vulnerabilities. She shares so much of herself, and the end result is remarkably lovely and affecting.
Unfortunately, the book is only available in Spanish, Miller’s native tongue. The images are well worth the price of ordering the book, but I’d say it’s worth brushing up on your Spanish to enjoy this multi-talented, multifaceted woman’s words. Order the book via Lapsus Calami, or keep up to date here for news regarding more retail opportunities, and maybe, one day, an English translation.